DVD 'The Attack'
The city of Rotterdam was the second city in the world suffering massive destruction by a modern enemy bomber fleet during WWII. The total destruction of the ancient city centre with all its classic housing, buildings and venues was a shock to more than Rotterdam itself. It was a message to the world. Rotterdam itself though suffered the direct consequences and still contains a substantial number of inhabitants that have to relive that infamous day time and again. Modern techniques, remodelled existing film material and recently discovered footage from a German film were combined with narratives into a five (12 x 3 m) screen exhibition, taking its visitors along the different aspects that occured during the five days that Rotterdam was under siege, right up to the days and first weeks after the inferno that struck home on the fifth day of the war.
The exhibition 'The Attack - May 1940' - five days of battle for Rotterdam told the story of the attack on Rotterdam from three perspectives: the confusion of its inhabitants, the resistance of the Dutch military and the experiences of German soldiers. Personal stories and informative contributions by historians were interchanged with impressive video projections and special objects from different collections. Centrepiece of the exhibition was an Heinkel He-111, similar to the type that destroyed Rotterdam. The exhibition provided the visitors with an intense experience of how the Germans attacked Rotterdam and the Netherlands. It is important to tell this often underexposed story again and again.
The exhibition was held from 29 April until 25 October 2015 in the Rotterdam harbour area (Heijplaat), on the southern bank of the Waterway.
The massive He-111, which the exhibition designers had managed to borrow from a German museum collection, was the visual centrepiece of the exhibition, the latter being set up in the former submarine halls of the late RDM yard. This location being on a quay site made it practicle to hoist the He-111 from a barge right into the exhibition hall, an operation conducted by the Dutch army engineers assisted by preservation staff.
Five massive screens, each 12 m wide and 3 m tall, showed each its own documentary on one of the five selected elements of the battle. A static show of military equipment, weapons and uniforms dressed the hall. Interactive elements, large mock-ups of the city before and after the raid and a number of small screen presentations by a few of the collaborating veterans and specialists completed the exhibition.
The exhibition was set in the native language of the speakers, being either Dutch or German and with an English translation.
The exhibition proved to be a great success and as a consequence media companies requested a comprehensive DVD / documentary format to be able to broadcast the docu on local and national television.
In January 2016 the DVD came available to the market.
The available DVD-box comprises two discs. The first contains a documentary of 45 minutes (in a NL+ ENG version) - a summary of the large movies in the exhibition - painting a picture of those five days in May in Rotterdam. The second disc contains eight short documentaries or narratives in which collaborating historians, journalists and authors elaborate on the battle. Amongst these historians the author of this very website War over Holland.
The documentaries on both DVD's are subtitled in English, whereas all speakers are native Dutch or German speaking. The price per DVD is EURO 12,50 excluding national or international shipment and postal costs.
One can order the DVD at the distributor himself by means of an e-mail order [please follow direct link]. One can also find reference on the website of Diafragma Films and Distribution [please follow direct link].