In conjunction with our new book on Karl Ritter's Legion Condor feature film, we present here some materials from our Collection on the Hispano Film-Bavaria Film documentary called Helden in Spanien. The film had a tortured history as it was premiered twice in different versions in Germany after having been compiled and edited from two Spanish Civil War films dating from 1936 and 1937. The full story of the evolution of this film is presented in our book, along with background on the Deutsche Wochenschau's Deutsche Freiwillige in Spanien and Ritter's Im Kampf gegen den Weltfeind -- all of which preceeded the proposed feature film.
One of the two Spanish films used later for footage by Tobis in the production of Helden in Spanien was the film ¡Arriba España! This original Spanish film was released in Austria in late 1936 and an "Illustrated Film Kurier" cinema 8 page pamphlet was sold to cinema goers. We have that brochure in our Collection and show the first two inside pages here:
BELOW, from our Collection, the ¡Arriba España! handbill from the Gaufilmstelle promoting that film in German cinemas:
The second film used by Bavaria Filmkunst to provide material for Helden in Spanien was the 1936 documentary film Die Geissel der Welt /Scourge of the World.This was an extremely anti–Red pro–Franco film which had had a short cinema run in Nazi Germany in 1937. At that time, it was promoted in the Gaufilmstelle regional film distribution network. This article is from the January 1937 issue of Film & Foto from our Collection, published by the Gau Sachsen:
The original Spanish version of Helden in Spanien was called España heroica and released in 1938. We have in our Collection a large advertising herald for the film:
FROM OUR COLLECTION BELOW, the Bavaria Film-Hispano Film press-book on the Helden in Spanien film, the cinema 4 page brochure on the film, two small cinema handbills advertising the film, as well two pages scanned of the very rare Reichsfilmprüfstelle (German Reich Film Censors Office) card.
The Bavaria Filmkunst preview booklet for cinema owners from 1937/38 showing the page promoting the film, before a poster was printed:
The Film Censorship Office, Berlin, censorship card for the film, from our Collection:
In the film, the narrator states that the historically important Basque city of Guernica "was not destroyed by the Nationalists, but rather burned down by the fleeing Reds."
The map showing Guernica at the point in the film when the destruction of the town is mentioned as having been caused by retreating Red forces:
In the United States of America, most of the media was pro–Republican but the Catholic Church, alarmed by the burning down and looting of many churches and the murder and rape of hundreds of nuns and killing of hundreds of priests by Republican and Red forces; promoted an English-language version of Helden in Spanien across major American cities. Here from our Collection the rare handbill for such screenings in Los Angeles:
Unfortunately, only five of the 16mm reels are still in existence from this English-language version. They total 28 minutes, and are of Reels 2, 3, 5, 7, and 8. The picture quality and soundtrack are far better than in the pirate Spanish and German language versions sometimes found on the Internet. These 5 reels were mis–labeled as "Spanish newsreels" so we were fortunate to discover them and to recognise the footage from the German version we have in our Film Library. At the time of this web page entry, they could be seen here.