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War Crimes Commission: Concentration Camps

Film | Accession Number: 2006.73.1 | RG Number: RG-60.4500 | Film ID: 2815

There are breaks between reels. The film begins with titles and affidavits attesting to the authenticity of the film material to follow. A quote from Robert Jackson is followed by affidavits from George Stevens and E. R. Kellogg. Both affidavits are shown on the screen as they are read aloud. An animated maps shows the locations of the largest prison and concentration camps in Germany and occupied Europe.

01:04:27 Title on screen: "Leipzig Concentration Camp" [Leipzig-Thekla, a sub-camp of Buchenwald]. Long shots of the camp while the narrator tells of the political prisoners who were burned to death or shot there. Former prisoners tell the story of the atrocity to an American soldier. Close-ups of a prisoner who burned to death while the narrator says that 200 starving prisoners were lured into a wooden buidling which was then set on fire. Bodies of those electrocuted on the fence as they tried to escape -- gruesome shots. Russian women, liberated from slave labor, view the corpses.

01:05:42 Title on screen: "Penig Concentration Camp" [a sub-camp of Buchenwald]. Exteriors and interiors of the camp. Female Hungarian prisoners. American medics examine the survivors, who are very ill. American soldiers remove ill people from barracks with stretchers. The survivors are taken to a hospital formerly used by the Luftwaffe, where Nazi doctors are ordered to treat them. Women survivors smile up from their stretchers.

01:09:11 Title on screen: "Ohrdruf Concentration Camp" [a sub-camp of Buchenwald]. Americans talk with camp survivors. Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton tour the camp. They see torture devices, corpses. The narrator quotes Eisenhower's statement to the congressional delegation that toured the camp. Eisenhower views the crematory made from railway tracks. "Prominent Nazi party members" and a "Nazi medical Major" arrive on a truck and are forced to tour the camp with Colonel Hayden Sears. The Nazis are forced to enter the woodshed to view the corpses. The "medical Major" is especially reluctant to enter. The Nazis listen to a recitation of the atrocities committed at Ohrdruf. According to the narration, they denied all knowledge of what happened there.

01:15:11 Title on screen: "Hadamar" Major Herman Bolker examines survivors at the Hadamar euthanasia facility. Men exhume bodies from the cemetery at Hadamar. Men wearing gas masks remove decomposing corpses from graves. Major Bolker performs the autopsies out of doors. Dr. Adolf Wahlmann, chief physician at the facilty, and Karl Willig, a nurse, are interrogated by American soldiers. Wahlmann inspects a bottle of morphine, which was used to kill patients.

01:20:12 Title on screen: "Breendonck" Views of the camp (in Belgium). A former prisoner demonstrates how prisoners would be tied up and beaten with a stick covered in barbed wire. Former inmates demonstrate other methods of torture and show their scars.

01:22:49 Title on screen: "Hannover Concentration Camp" [a sub-camp of Neuengamme]. Former prisoners walk around the grounds of the Hanover-Ahlem camp. They are served food provided by the Red Cross. Shots of men eating soup. Interior shots of men too weak to leave their bunks. Corpses of men who died after the arrival of the Americans. Shot of a photographer posing a group of survivors against a barracks.

01:25:10 Title on screen: "Arnstadt Concentration Camp" Long view of the camp. Pan of tents where prisoners were housed in extremely overcrowded conditions. Kennels where watchdogs lived and shots of German civilians as they exhume corpses.

01:27:29 Title on screen: "Nordhausen Concentration Camp" [a sub-camp of Dora Mittelbau]. Long shot of piles of corpses lying on the grounds of the camp. Close-ups of the bodies, with some survivors lying among them. American soldiers remove some survivors on stretchers while others sit and stare at the camera. Close-up of a crying, emaciated man. He is helped onto a stretcher. German civilians are forced to clear and bury the bodies. Shot of a priest who is there to administer last rites to the dead. German civilians carrying shovels walk down the road. Shots of corpses in common graves.

01:30:42 Title on screen: "Mauthausen Concentration Camp" There is no audio for the first part of this sequence. High angle shot of the camp. View of the stone gate. A survivor points out the ovens in which bodies were cremated. An American soldier holds a man, presumably a guard or other camp personnel, at gunpoint. 01:31:32 Audio comes back in. Lieutenant Jack H. Taylor, who had been a prisoner at Mauthausen, stands surrounded by a group of former inmates. He says that he was the first Allied officer to parachute into Austria. He was captured, beaten, and interned at Mauthausen with no recognition of his POW status. He tells of two American servicemen who were executed at Mauthausen and then lists the different ways that prisoners were executed. Shots of rows of corpses and terribly emaciated prisoners. German civilians load corpses onto horse-drawn wagons. Civilians and bulldozers digging graves. Good (but gruesome) close-ups of corpses. Men, women, young people. A naked, extremely emaciated survivor is held upright by another man.

01:39:08 Title on screen: "Buchenwald Concentration Camp" Gate and grounds of Buchenwald. Some of the scenes are quite washed out. "Jedem das Seine" gate; Red Cross trucks; liberated boys walk out of the Buchenwald gate. Panning shot of older male prisoners. Prisoners stand behind a pile of corpses and all remove their hats in one movement. Close-ups of stomach tattoos. Close-ups of survivors. Panning shot of boys' legs behind barbed wire. Shots of corpses as the narrator talks about medical experiments performed at Buchenwald. Ovens and pile of bone ash. German civilians forced to tour the camp. Women smiling as they walk toward the camp. Lampshades and tattoos made from inmates' skin; shrunken heads. Corpses and prisoners' severe wounds. The Germans weep and look shocked.

01:45:23 Title on screen: "Dachau Concentration Camp" Different narrator. Aerial shots of Dachau. Sign and gate at Dachau. Large crowds of liberated prisoners, many of them smiling at the camera. The narration (as at other points throughout the film) focuses on the many different nationalities represented in the prisoner population. Emaciated prisoners wrapped in blankets. Corpses in railcars. Men in striped uniforms remove bodies from a cart. German civilians forced to look at corpses. Women weep as they exit the building. Famous shot of piles of bodies behind the crematorium. Snow falls on rows of prisoner uniforms. Shots of the Brausebad (gas chamber), Zyklon B, crematorium. Group of naked male survivors.

01:52:01 Title on screen: "Belsen Concentration Camp" The British officer commanding Bergen-Belsen stands in front of a large board that lists various countries, presumably representing prisoner nationalities. He talks about disposal of bodies, conditions at the camp when it was liberated. A female doctor-survivor [Hadassah Bimko, later Hadassah Rosensaft] stands in front of a group of women survivors and talks about conditions in the camp. She speaks German, which is translated into English by the narrator. She talks about medical experiments performed at the camp, including sterilizations. Camp commandant Josef Kramer after his capture and other captured guards. Survivors, corpses in a field. Male and female guards remove and bury corpses. Bulldozer pushes corpses into a mass grave. Shot of E. R. Kellogg's affidavit.

Event:  1945
Production:  1945
Buchenwald, Germany
Dachau, Germany
Breendonck, Belgium
Ohrdruf, Germany
Penig, Germany
Arnstadt, Germany
Belsen, Germany
Mauthausen, Austria
Nordhausen, Germany
Hadamar, Germany
Leipzig, Germany
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:45:56
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