Second Hand War

Second Hand War

Bitter pills and rumour mills: This animated doc seeks out traces of the women who lived and loved, struggled and resisted in a small Czechoslovak town in WWII.

Třeboň, Occupied Czechoslovakia: a German soldier comes every day, pointing a gun at a mother and demanding milk, bread and butter; a young girl watches as the four thousand German soldiers camping behind her house are replaced by as many Soviet soldiers; a little girl pretends to be a mannequin in her grandmother’s shop to hide from SS officers; a high school student helps her friend sew a Jewish star on her coat and take her first steps wearing it in public.These are some of the extraordinary tales of “ordinary” women from a small Czech town during World War Two. The animated short documentary “Second Hand War” (wt) foregrounds wartime snapshots that didn’t make it to the history books, focussing on women’s experiences. The version of history portrayed is fragmentary and contradictory, combining first-hand accounts and gossip passed down through the generations, privileging the fragile poetry of human subjectivity over verifiable facts. Fragments of personal connections to this period of history are pieced together to create a subtle overview of daily life under occupation and what it meant to be a woman at that time, while at the same time revealing the gaps in our collective memory.

Director’s statement
We developed the idea for this film while working on our previous shorts “Black&White” and “All Her Dying Lovers”, which are what first brought us to Trebon. We went to research a scandalous urban legend about a nurse from WWII, but during the interviews people kept telling us other stories about women from that time. We were really struck by how rarely we hear about the “female” side of history, and how everyday experiences and struggles get overshadowed by battles and tanks. We were captivated by what we heard, and thought those tales also deserved to be told. We believe history is always a current subject, and recently it has taken on a particular relevance as arguments over who gets to write history and what should be preserved are raging through social media. Although our focus is specifically feminist, we feel that our film will also speak to these wider debates, and that the combination of oral history and expressive animation is the perfect format for it.

Jakub Pinkava

Country of production

Germany, Czech Republic

Target audience


Animation technique

drawing, rotoscoping

Production company

parabellum film Punk film

Co-production company

Estimated budget

122,605.00 €

Funding secured

Renovabis Research Grant (Award East-West-Talent-Lab at goEast Film Festival 2021), €3500, Germany Referenzförderung FFA Germany, automatic funding estimated €7275 Producers' Investment (cash, in-kind, deferrals), €7000, Germany/Czech Republic


CEE Animation is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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