Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  26 minutes
Date:  2007
Genre:  Expository
Language:  German; English / English subtitles
Grade level: 11-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color / Black and White
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Amateur Photographer

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The story of a German soldier and the photographs that he took, while serving on the Eastern Front during WWII.

Amateur Photographer

As a young man in Germany during the Thirties, Gerhard M. was an amateur photographer who preserved his work in a photo album. In 1941, when he was sent to the Eastern Front as a German soldier, he took along a camera to record his combat experiences in the Soviet Union.

Based on his wartime diary and photo album, AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER recounts Gerhard M.'s experiences with his unit, which was engaged in 'retaliatory measures in captured areas.' Eager to document his wartime exploits, Gerhard took numerous photos, including both quickly-recorded snapshots and carefully composed portraits His subjects included fellow soldiers, Soviet prisoners and other civilian victims of the war, the Germany army's expropriation of livestock and other food supplies from the local populace, and a temporary leave spent happily in Berlin with his fiancée.

After the war, as a citizen of the German Democratic Republic and a dues-paying member of the Soviet-German Friendship Society, Gerhard M. came to regret his enthusiasm for photography. The discovery by East German Communist authorities of his incriminating diary and photo album, replete with horrific images of executions and other atrocities, no longer regarded as personal souvenirs but as legal evidence, led to Gerhard M.'s conviction by a Soviet court and his execution by firing squad in 1952.

'Provides a unique insight into the reality of war, where shooting has become trivial, where killing is a duty.'-The International Culture Forum in Sweden

'Highly intelligent... striking.'-George Robinson, Jewish Week

'A riveting story.'-Jana Prikryl, The Reeler.com


** 2005 Grand Prix, Humanity in the World Film Festival
** 2005 Best Short Documentary, Jewish Eye Film Festival
** 2005 Award for Artistic Reflection of Reality, Ekaterinburg Film Festival
** 2005 Berlin Film Festival


Main credits

Gedrovich, Irina (Director)
Roshalʹ, L (Screenwriter)
Reznikov, Efim (Producer)
Hille, Stephan (Narrator)
Dorenwendt, Thomas (Narrator)

Other credits

Director of photography, Ilia Melikhov; music and sound, Evgeniy Kadimsky; editor, Sergey Novikov; consultants, Vladimir Magidov, Dmitriy Khokhlov; translation, Gillian McCormack.

Distributor credits

A Film by Irina Gedrovich

Docuseek2 subjects

Eastern Europe
Human Rights
World War II
Russia and the former Soviet Union

Distributor subjects

Black and White
Eastern Europe
History (World)
Human Rights
World War II


Eastern Front; Russia; World War II; German soldiers; atrocities; atrocity; documentary; video; film; soldier; diary; war stories; war photos; war pics; photographer; war crimes; "Amateur Photographer"; Icarus Films

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