|Directed by||Veit Harlan
|Written by||Veit Harlan
|Music by||Norbert Schultze|
|Editing by||Wolfgang Schlief|
|Country||National Socialist Germany|
Kolberg is a 1945 German historical film directed by Veit Harlan and Wolfgang Liebeneiner. It opened on January 30, 1945 simultaneously in Berlin and to the crew of the naval base at La Rochelle. It was also screened in the Reich chancellery after the broadcast of Hitler's last radio address on January 30. One of the last films of the Third Reich, it was unable to go into general release.
The film is in Agfacolor.
The film was based on the autobiography of Joachim Nettelbeck, mayor of Kolberg. It told the story of the successful defence of the besieged fortress town of Kolberg against French troops between April and July 1807.
The film begins in 1813 after the period of the Napoleonic Wars known in German as the War of Liberation. The opening scenes show Prussian Landwehr and volunteers marching down the streets of Breslau through enthusiastic crowds. This is followed by a dialogue between the King Frederick William III of Prussia and Count August von Gneisenau, where Gneisenau explains that the siege of Kolberg taught the importance of citizen armies. Ending with the admonition that kings who cannot lead must abdicate, the scene switches to Vienna in 1806 to show the abdication of the last Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II of Austria, whom the script has Gneisenau call "an Emperor who abandoned the German people in their hour of need".
The scene set, the film moves to 1807 and a Kolberg not yet affected by war, where the inhabitants are shown enjoying life, and the town's leaders, Nettelbeck chief among them, discuss Napoleon's proclamations, and what it will mean to them. Some see the French victories as a good thing, some wonder whether to leave. Nettelbeck alone is set on resisting the French. The film continues in this vein, with Nettelbeck struggling against cowardice, lethargy and the old-fashioned ideas of the garrison commander, to defend his city against the approaching French. Nettelbeck creates a citizen militia, in spite of the best efforts of the regular army, has supplies collected, and strongly opposes the idea of surrender.
Finally, having been threatened with execution, and convinced that Kolberg can only be saved if a great leader can be found, Nettelbeck sends Maria on the dangerous journey to Königsberg where the Court of Prussia has retreated to, to meet with the King and with Queen Louise, who was described by Napoleon as "the only man in Prussia". Maria's journey leads to the energetic and charismatic Gneisenau being sent to Kolberg. After an initial confrontation with Nettelbeck, in order to show that there is only one leader in Kolberg, and that Gneisenau is that leader, the two work together with the army and the citizens to save the city from the French. After Kolberg is saved, the film returns to 1813 after the Convention of Tauroggen, a time when Napoleon was defeated in Russia, and Prussian leaders wonder whether it is time to turn openly against him. Frederick William is convinced by Gneisenau to do so, and sits down to write the proclamation An Mein Volk ("To my People") announcing the War of Liberation.
Propaganda intent 
Paul Joseph Goebbels explicitly ordered the use of the historical events for a film, which he regarded as highly suitable for the circumstances Germany faced.
Kolberg, begun in 1943, was made in Agfacolor with high production values. At a cost of more than eight million marks, it was the most expensive German film of the second World War, with the actual cost suppressed to avoid public reaction. At a time when the war was turning against German fortunes, thousands of soldiers were used in the film. To film scenes with snow during summer, 100 railway wagons brought salt to the set in Pomerania. The film was finally completed at the Babelsberg Studios at Potsdam while the town and nearby Berlin were being steadily bombed by the Allies. Two extras were killed during the making of the film when an explosive charge went off too early.
The film opened on January 30, 1945 in a temporary cinema in Berlin, and ran under constant threat of air raids until the fall of Berlin in May. Kolberg was declared a 'Festung' (fortress-town), and Soviet forces neared the town on February 24. Within a month of the film's opening Kolberg was under full siege (sometimes called the 'second Siege', or 'second Battle', of Kolberg), with around 70000 trapped civilians and military. House-to-house fighting caused devastation. Kolberg fell to Soviet and Polish forces on March 18. Many civilians escaped by sea, and those who survived were permanently expelled along with all Germans in east Pomerania. The ruined town of Kolberg became part of Poland and is now known as Kołobrzeg.
The film was re-released in 1965, with an attached documentary, and is now available on digitally remastered DVD.
- Kristina Söderbaum as Maria
- Heinrich George as Nettelbeck
- Paul Wegener as Loucadou
- Horst Caspar as Graf Neidhardt von Gneisenau
- Gustav Diessl as Rittmeister Schill
- Otto Wernicke
- Kurt Meisel
See also 
- Kolberg at the Internet Movie Database
- Kolberg is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Kolberg at AllRovi
- German website about the film
|Screenshot of a scene showing general Gneisenau (Horst Caspar) making a speech on the market square in Kolberg|
|Official film poster (1945)|
|Screenshot of an army scene(the statists for these scenes came directly from the battlefields of the ongoing Second World War)|