Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps

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tags: Holocaust, Auschwitz, Nazi, Jew, documentary, Night Will Fall

The HBO documentary “Night Will Fall” is a movie about the Holocaust, a movie about remembering the Holocaust and primarily, at least in formal terms, a movie about a movie. It may not do full justice to all these subjects in its tight 78 minutes, but it’s not a film you’re likely to forget.

The most wrenching sequences in “Night Will Fall” are the scenes it incorporates from “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” a movie begun under the auspices of the British government in 1945. Using film shot by Allied cameramen at camps including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau, and assembled by a team that included Alfred Hitchcock as a supervising director, “Factual Survey” was meant to be a historical document and a teaching tool; among the stated goals of the filmmakers was that it be shown to Germans to prove to them that the horrors of the camps were real.

Amid the rapidly shifting politics of postwar Europe, however, with America and Britain confronting Soviet expansionism and suddenly interested in raising German morale, work on “Factual Survey” was abruptly halted. The finished reels, storyboards and scripts would sit in British archives for more than 60 years, until the Imperial War Museums began a restoration project in 2010.

Read entire article at NYT

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