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PBS FRONTLINE: MEMORY OF THE CAMPS 2 OF 3

11 years ago761 views


PBS FRONTLINE: MEMORY OF THE CAMPS PART 2 OF 3

-What is the history of this film?-

This documentary on the liberation of the German concentration camps in 1945 was assembled in London that year, but never shown until FRONTLINE first broadcast it -- 40 years later -- in May of 1985. Five of the film's six reels had survived in a 55-minute fine-cut print without titles or credits. (The quality of the print reflects the fact that the negative was lost and it was made from a nitrate positive cutting copy, the equivalent of a work-print today.)

In 1952 the five reels, together with an undated, unsigned typed narration which closely matched the edited film, were transferred from the British War Office film vaults to London's Imperial War Museum. The Museum gave the film the title "Memory of the Camps."

At the time the film was transferred to the Museum, a shot list, dated May 7, 1946, suggested that the missing sixth reel comprised Russian film of the liberation of Auschwitz and Maidanek. But this reel had been left in Moscow in the hands of the Russian cameramen who shot it.

"F3080" was the name given to a project to compile a documentary film on German atrocities. The project originated in February 1945 in the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force). It was there that Sidney Bernstein, chief of PWD's Film Section, began preparations for producing a film using material shot by the service and newsreel cameramen accompanying the British, American, and Russian armies.

As the Allied forces advanced in the final weeks leading up to the German surrender, cameramen of the British Army Film Unit and of the American Army Pictorial Service began to make a systematic record of the newly liberated concentration camps. By early May 1945, the British Ministry of Information and the American Office of War Information began collaborating on the collation and rough-cutting of the film material.

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