GERMAN ASSAULT ON POLAND & WARSAW
By JULIEN BRYAN
Filmed in 1939 and released in February 1940, Julien Bryan’s “SEIGE” was the first film to feature images of the invasion of Poland not created by Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. The film became infamous, providing for many viewers their first glimpse into the modern mechanized warfare known as the Blitzkrieg.
The son of a Presbyterian missionary, Bryan was forty years old when fate placed him in Warsaw, Poland. Up until that time, he’d supported himself and his travels by making films to accompany lectures that he gave in the USA.
Bryan learned about the German invasion while travelling by train to Warsaw. He had with him his Leica still camera, Bell & Howell movie camera and 6000 feet of film.
For two weeks between September 7 and September 21he managed to take hundreds of still photographs and 5000 feet of motion picture film documenting the Siege of Warsaw and the bombing of the city by the Luftwaffe. Through Polish Radio he also made an appeal to President Roosevelt to help the Warsaw’s civilians targeted by enemy bombers.
He escaped Warsaw on September 21 after Germans declared a cease-fire to allow citizens of neutral countries to depart by train through East Prussia. He managed to hide some of his films in souvenir gas mask containers collected by fellow traveller from US, and by one account he hid some movies by wrapping them around his torso.
After arriving in New York in fall of 1939 Bryan published some of his photographs. Life magazine magazine printed 15 of his images in the October 23 issue and Look Magazine published another 26 in the December 5 issue. Bryan produced “SEIGE” in 1940 as a short documentary, released by RKO Radio Pictures.and wrote a book with the same title. The film was eventually nominated for Academy Award the following year for Best Short Subject.
The ruins of Warsaw
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com
The Colors of War
GOD BLESS POLAND