Peter Forgacs The Land of Nothing


An amateur film journal sometimes contradicts the ‘official’, the so called ‘public history’ from a private history view. Sometimes offers a radically different, emblematic, or even banal aspect. But rarely may we see the unseen, a private view of the bloody WW2, diary footage of László Rátz that was never aimed for the public eye, made only for family memory.
Rátz, ensign of the Second Hungarian Army, 18th Szekszárd Infantry, was shooting 9,5 mm family films from 1938. His private film eye just the observant’s gaze around without ideological filter. This war film story begins with their entrainment in June 1942, and follows, registers the exhausting long march of the Second Hungarian Army through half the Ukraine. On the road side Ukraine people stare in to the camera. Reaching the Don River, the Second Hungarian Army was immediately thrown into the bloody and devastating clash with the Soviets at the Voronhez front. Rátz filmed until the eve of the catastrophe of the Hungarian Army at the river Don. He safely brought the films home on his Christmas leave 1942, so this unique chronicle survived…

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