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More people died on the ship in the Titanic movie than on the Titanic itself.

The real Titanic killed 1,517 people

The real Titanic killed 1,517 people

Photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS

James Cameron’s 11-Oscar-winning film Titanic celebrates its 25th anniversary this December. Many are sure that the tragic story of the death of a passenger ship and its passengers is embodied on the silver screen exclusively with the participation of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

But in world cinema, the Titanic sank more than once. For example, director Roy Ward Baker showed the sad story of a passenger ship relatively accurately in his film. In a 1958 film titled A Night to Remember, he even filmed some of the Titanic’s surviving passengers and crew.

But there is another “Titanic”, dated 1942, entered the annals of cinema as one of the examples of Nazi propaganda. With a budget of 4 million Reichsmarks (about $ 180 million in today’s terms), this film became one of the most expensive in the 20th century, which, as film critics noted at the time, “did not really affect its quality.”

Many are sure that the tragic story of the death of a passenger ship is embodied on the silver screen exclusively with the participation of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

Many are sure that the tragic story of the death of a passenger ship is embodied on the silver screen exclusively with the participation of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

Photo: film frame

CAREFUL BRITNS AND GOOD GERMANS

The plot of the picture was personally approved by Goebbels. The Reich Minister, responsible for all Nazi propaganda, was sure that the film would become a blockbuster and a striking element of anti-British propaganda. He personally decided that the Titanic would “sink” through the fault of the British: in the film, the head of the shipping company (of course, a Briton) demands that the captain of the ship quickly pass along a dangerous route in order to overtake the ships of competitors and earn as much money as possible. And a brave German warrior must warn of danger and save passengers.

It was decided to make the hero-officer of the German army Petersen (his role was played by actor Hans Nielsen) and his companion Sigrid (actress Sybil Schmitz) the main characters. Petersen and Sigrid are the only passengers of the Titanic – the Germans, before the collision with the ship with the iceberg, they prove to them the superiority of the ideas of the Reich in the course of numerous skirmishes with the British, and in the final picture, Sigrid even saves several small passengers who were abandoned by greedy parents, rushing to take their seats in lifeboats loaded with suitcases of cash.

Filming began in May 1942 in one of the Baltic ports occupied by the Nazis. Under the Titanic, the ocean liner Cap Arkona, requisitioned by the Germans, was decorated. Hundreds of soldiers were recalled from the front, changing their military uniforms for extras. Once in a quiet rear, they began to gossip and pester the actresses.

But there is another

But there is another “Titanic”, dated 1942, entered the annals of cinema as one of the examples of Nazi propaganda.

Director Herbert Selpin rushed to Berlin with complaints, straight to Goebbels. It is not known what he said in his conversation with the Minister of Propaganda and the President of the Imperial Chamber of Culture, but on July 31, 1942, Selpin was arrested and the next day found hanged in a prison cell. The film was completed by another director, Werner Klinger.

GOEBBELS REMAINED DISSATISFIED

The night before the planned and highly publicized opening night, RAF planes bombed the cinema that was to host the first screening of the Nazi Titanic. As a result, the audience saw this film for the first time only a few months later. And even then not in Germany, but in the Czech Republic occupied by the Germans: Goebbels did not like the film.

The Reichsminister himself justified his decision by the fact that the scenes of panic, death of people, the catastrophe of a passenger ship would negatively affect the mood of the Germans, who already then knew all the “charms” of life under the incessant attacks of the Allied troops.

The fascist “Titanic” entered the encyclopedias of world cinema as a commercial disaster. German viewers saw it only half a century after the premiere, the dubious honor of watching it earlier went to the inhabitants of some socialist countries: after the defeat of the Nazis, the films with this picture ended up in the hands of the winners, and the film was dubbed, including into Russian.

Under the

Under the “Titanic” was decorated by the Germans requisitioned ocean liner “Cap Arkona”

EVERYONE WHO TRIED TO SAVE WAS SHOT

A tragic fate was also prepared for the Cap Arkona ship: after filming, it again began to transport Nazi units across the Baltic, and in May 1945 stood at the pier in Lübeck. According to various estimates, from 6,000 to 7,000 prisoners of the Neuengamme concentration camp were in its holds.

Neuengamme was one of the most sinister Nazi concentration camps. Medical experiments were carried out on the prisoners here. Through the horrors of Neuengamme passed – French writer Claude Bourde, member of the French Resistance, Colonel Michel Hollar, Polish (later Canadian) writer Chava Rosenfarb; a journalist and translator, the brother of the writer Vladimir Nabokov, Sergei Nabokov, died there.

The Nazis, having already understood the inevitability of their collapse, tried to hide the traces of their atrocities: they destroyed the concentration camp and took the prisoners out of it. The exact plans of the Reich leadership regarding the Neuengamme prisoners became known at the Nuremberg trials: the final point of the order to “evacuate” the prisoners was their liquidation, although the Nazi leadership tried to convince the judges of the tribunal that they intended to send all the prisoners by sea to neutral Sweden.

At the same time, British intelligence received information that high-ranking Nazis had decided to flee to Norway. Having no additional information, the British decided that the Nazis were using the Cap Arkona to escape, and they decided to immediately liquidate this ship.

The victims of the real Titanic were 1,517 people, the death toll from the British bombing of Cap Arcona is estimated at 4,500-7,000 people. The pilots did not just drop bombs on the ship: on a strafing flight, they shot from machine guns all those who tried to escape, being overboard a sinking ship.

One of the 350 survivors was the German communist Willy Neurath. The story of his rescue, perhaps, will someday become the basis for writing a new screenplay: the exhausted Willy was found on the shore … by his wife, who lived near the port.

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