Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated the Nazi ...
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Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated the Nazi extermination camps: the survivors, the conditions, and the evidence of mass murder. The film includes accounts of the economic aspects of the camps' operation, the interrogation of captured camp personnel, and the enforced visits of the inhabitants of neighboring towns, who, along with the rest of their compatriots, are blamed for complicity in the Nazi crimes - one of the few such condemnations in the Allied war records.Written by
National Center for Jewish Film
That is one of terrible lines of voice-over in this terrifying documentary compiled by Billy Wilder from motion pictures taken of the liberation of the German concentration camps in 1945.
I am an American Jew, born in 1954, and I live my life under the shadow of the Holocaust and the evidence of the evil of human beings. I have always known people with blue numbers tattooed on their arms. My grandfather's second wife was in Warsaw in September 1, 1939, and managed to escape via Arkhangel to the United States by the end of the month. Her son was not so lucky, and managed to survive the Death Camps. He lived the rest of his life in a constant state of terror. One day in the 1970s my cousin brought in a friend who was looking for work and after his friend had left, I asked what would wrong with him. "Both his parents came out of Dachau" answered my cousin.
The images in this movie are images I knew in my nightmare as a child: piles of corpses of skin and bones; walking corpses staring blankly; signs on the gates reading "Arbeit Mach Frei" -- 'Work will free you'; piles of teeth, bales of human hair, barrels of ashes from corpses ready to be sent to German farmers and, of course, the lying Germans who said they didn't know, they had no idea.
They knew. I know.
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