Orientation Film no. 19. War Department Information Film showing German concentration camps and victims of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Belsen, Buchenwald, and other camps. Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated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 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. Nonetheles, the word 'Jew' is never used.
Townspeople of Gardelegen, Germany, carrying crosses and shovels to a local barn containing 1100 victims of the Holocaust. Various CUs barbed wire of Dachau, tower, pan of barracks, up hill, cheering survivors. "Arbeit macht frei" gate opened. Waving happy survivors in striped uniforms behind barbed wire, crowd cheering (from above). Survivors rush to potato cart and eat with spoons. Crying, sick survivor with hands together in prayer carried on litter to ambulance by Red Cross. More victims, women. Allied physicians examine sick and injured victims at Auschwitz: wounded men, women, child, infant in fetal position in bed. Allied leaders tour camps. Gen. Eisenhower and other officers visit Ohrdruf, torture demonstration. Archbishop of Canterbury and other church dignitaries visit camps. Soviet leaders. Allied Investigative Committee. Stack of corpses in dark room. Crematoria, pan of ash outside in courtyard. Majdanek, torture chamber, medical room, various equipment, drains, tables, gas chamber ceiling, vent, pipes, Zyklon B cans, ovens. Auschwitz, bones in a box, soldiers walk past high piles of victims' belongings, including clothes, shoes, dolls, bales of hair cut open. Soldiers going through storage room in Buchenwald. MS, pan, boxes of watches, glasses, jewelry, teeth. US soldier pours gold teeth out of box. Death train at Dachau with many bodies. Corpse pulled out of moat. Pan down to ground covered with corpses. CUs mutilated faces. Corpses of Soviet POWs burned in the Gardelegen atrocity. German POW at Mauthausen. Belsen commandant Josef Kramer and female guards accompanied by a British soldier. A witness talking to US investigation at Hadamar. The chief physician is Dr. Adolf Wahlmann, and the man identified as the "camp commander" is actually Karl Willig, a nurse. Both men were tried at the Hadamar euthanasia trial in October 1945. EXT mass graves at Hadamar and exhumations. Corpses at different concentration camps (Mauthausen, Ohrdruf, Landsberg, Ebensee, Belsen, Leipzig) as the narrator describes methods used to kill them. Emaciated and wounded survivors from various camps - in very bad shape: women at Nordhausen; women being treated at Ruhmsdorf; children showing tattoos in Auschwitz; men holding each other at Holzen; emaciated men at Ebensee; naked survivor walking to ambulance at Belsen; cooking in yards. Forced confrontation in Weimar. Townspeople and Nazi officials forced to view corpses. Column of German civilians walking along road, smiling into camera, walking through front gates of Buchenwald. Viewing coffins, bodies, sober faces, crying. Flashback to Nuremberg rally; superimposed over German civilians after forced confrontation.
- Film Title
The Death Mills [Die Todesmuehlen]
- Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:49:49
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