Festzug (LFS01407 1)



Festive parade at the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Philippsburg.


ZT: In August 1938 there was a festive mood in the city. / The 600th anniversary was a great experience. / ZT: The pageant showed magnificent pictures and groups. Parade with horse-drawn carriages, people with cart, children pulling a ship on a carriage, band, view on the street decorated with swastika flags, various decorated horse-drawn carriages, riders, women wearing a fishing net, decorated with nets coach, men with swastika flags, Children draw a cannon. TC: 10:22:49 Riders get off the horses (dark). ZT: The urn as a symbol of the earliest history. Horse-drawn carriage, in the background a house decorated with swastika flags. Drawing of the drummer of Philippsburg.


Reference / film number :  LFS01407 1
Date :  1938
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:05:21
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Identity, Traditions, Local festivals
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The sky was cloudy and it was raining when the citizen of Philippsburg celebrated the 600th anniversary of their city in August 1938 with a parade. Immediately before the pageant, the festival on the "drummer of Philippsburg" was performed on the market square. The time of the festival, the historical world of the 17th century, as presented by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen in his novel on the "Adventurous Simplizissimus", should also be the time frame for the parade. The then mayor Oswald Kirchgeßner emphasized in his speech, "That this festival is deliberately simply, according to the time and the heavy history of the city celebrated." The present, in which the anniversary fell, was the National Socialism. The short film about the event does not overlook the flags and flags with the swastikas - and less so are the NS groups marching in the parade. They fall out of the historical past, which should correspond to the outer picture of the pageant.

Even a parade is a "medium" with which a society presents itself - a city society in this case, which seeks to assure its identity in the present in reference to its history. The pageant becomes a medial form in which social memory manifests itself as a place where the collective memory not only refreshes, but becomes vivid in the 'performance' of a parade, at the same time repeating and changing the image of the urban community. How does a bourgeois urban society process it, if the memory culture breaks down into the presence of a projected National Socialist national community that is ultimately no longer bourgeois?

The first shot of the film irritated. The shot-total keeps the viewers on the sidewalk consistently in view, but the wagons and groups, which defile past front, are repeatedly large or too large in the picture. There's the car with the model of the city fortress, the Red Gate. Girl in white clothes carry a fishing net. The 'Father Rhine' lies half naked in his carriage with the reed grasses. Boys pull a boat with two fishermen. Historic costumes and equipment characterize the 'living pictures' - the need of bygone days should be recalled. Then the Nazi band appears in uniform - the distance to the previous car seems to announce it. The spectators are to some extent on stage at a parade, and even in this setting of the film, they constantly remain in the background: The pageant passes them, passing through the picture - and gathers the disparate and contradictory in the movement, with which the train progresses. The 'medium' of the pageant holds together the separated and opposing in its visual appearance: a city society between memory and the Nazi present, between the rights of the individual and the idea of ​​a national community in which this right threatens to be lost.

The spectators are perseveringly in view, they belong to the staging of the parade, and after a cut you can see them in the foreground in the picture, while the train on the glistening road moves towards the camera. Now the performers from the festival appear in several cuts: the commander Kaspar Bamberger and his captain on horseback, soldiers with iron helmets, a covered wagon with lowly people. The drama about the 'drummer of Philippsburg' becomes a kind of 'script' for the pageant, in which also the farmers and fishermen with their old equipment fit. The fictional story, which is inspired by Grimmelshausen's picaresque novel, shapes the appearance of the procession, which remains open in the interplay of fiction and reality.

The NS groups, who then march past in rank and file and in the half-close, usually with stoic faces in the picture, refer in their demonstrative appearance only on themselves, on the social reality of the present. In the movement of progress, the parade also includes the National Socialists in the contradictory reality that he himself makes possible. The leader of the group raises his hand to the Hitler salute - and in the foreground for a brief second the hand of a spectator can be seen, who returns the greeting. In the fleeting visual event of a flickering hand, the spectacle of Nazi mass productions is hinting at their fascination with the rule of the unity to which the pageant defies.

Philippsburg anno 1938: The private film makes the cultural memory of the urban community visible as a heterogeneous space that holds its balance between the present and the past, between fiction and reality. The hand that rises to the Hitler salute and accidentally gets into the picture, rises in a realm of power that the National Socialists have already occupied. A space that, however, repeatedly merges into other spaces and periods of time - in a picture arc in which people and things from the fictive space of the festival play once more in the eye: a cannon, soldiers and again the covered wagon, with a swing disappears behind a corner of the house.

Reiner Bader

Places and monuments



GVOZDEVA, Katja; VELTEN, Hans Rudolf, Medialität der Prozession / Médialité de la procession. Performanz ritueller Bewegung in Texten und Bildern der Vormoderne, Heidelberg, Winter 2011.

  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.