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Russians meet Americans at Torgau; refugees

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.2689 | Film ID: 961

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    Russians meet Americans at Torgau; refugees


    Color film coverage of Americans linking up with Russians on the Elbe River in April 1945. Jeep passing another on country road. Road sign reads: "Torgau." Stevens and others at Bahnhof Drogerie. Parked jeeps on road in town. Group of Russian soldiers and a woman. Pan to Russian soldiers and brief shot of Ivan Moffat. Stevens with goggles on, pan to group of soldiers. CU of Russian soldier holding a machine gun. More CUs of Russian soldiers. Stevens with helmet and goggles and Russian soldiers, cameramen kneeling taking a shot of the scene. Stevens in FG, bombed out bridge in BG. Lieutenant shakes hands with two Russian soldiers. American soldier flirting with young woman. Russian soldier laughs.

    Refugees with carts. Stevens and other soldiers with river in BG. Refugees loading onto ferry raft. Shooting across fast flowing river and to green field on other side. Motorboat with troops coming across the river toward the camera. Old vehicles with refugees going through the streets of the village followed by bicycles passing through the town.

    The following sequence is part of the Berlin footage. Camera mounted in back seat of jeep going along highway. Troop trucks passing in the opposite direction. Over shoulder shot of Stevens in jeep, pans over to road marker with signs: "Berlin" straight ahead, "Halle, Leipzig" to the right. Jeep turns to right in front of sign showing "Leipzig" to left and "Berlin" to right.

    Returns to scenes along the Elbe River. Shots of barge activity with civilians on Elbe at Torgau. Shots in field, refugees in FG, soldiers chasing after someone and firing at them (possibly Russian soldiers joking around with each other, shooting playfully at comrades - as indicated by Library of Congress catalogers in 1983). A dozen soldiers set across the river with bombed out bridge in BG in what appears to be a racing shell.

    Sign board with poster reads: "East meets West", Russian soldier shaking hands with American soldier standing on swastika. British soldier comes ashore and talks with Stevens and the Russians. Strange, clownish man in black top hat drunkenly carrying a dead rabbit, he shows it to the GIs. Cameraman photographs him, he falls. MCU of young woman in a kerchief reacting to the drunken man falling.
    Event:  1945 April
    Production:  1945
    Elbe River, Germany
    Berlin, Germany
    Torgau, Germany
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
    Director: George C. Stevens
    Producer: Special Coverage Unit (SPECOU)
    George Stevens (December 18, 1904 – March 8, 1975) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer. During World War II, Stevens joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and headed a film unit from 1943 to 1946 under General Eisenhower. His unit shot footage documenting D-Day — including the only Allied European Front color film of the war — the liberation of Paris and the meeting of American and Soviet forces at the Elbe River, as well as horrific scenes from the Duben labor camp and the Dachau concentration camp. Stevens also helped prepare the Duben and Dachau footage and other material for presentation during the Nuremberg Trials. In 2008, his footage was entered into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress as an "essential visual record" of World War II.
    The Special Coverage Unit (SPECOU) was placed under the control of the Supreme Headquarters' Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). The SPECOU consists of 45 people: writers like Ivan Moffat, William Saroyan and Irwin Shaw; cameramen like Dick Hoar, Ken Marthey, William Mellor, Jack Muth; sound operators as Bill Hamilton, who comes from Columbia, assistant directors, as Holly Morse, who has worked with Hal Roach.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:04:50:00 to 00:12:25:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 961 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - color - HD
      Master 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 961 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - color - HD
      Master 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 961 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - color - HD
      Master 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Master 961 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - color - HD
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small
      Preservation 961 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - small

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This archival media can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations.
    George Stevens Jr.
    Conditions on Use
    George Stevens, Jr. owns the copyright to this film. Researchers must contact the Library of Congress at for permission to reproduce and use this film material.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased film copies of the George Stevens Collection on videotape from the Library of Congress in October 1994.
    Copied From
    16mm color reversal film
    Film Source
    Library of Congress - Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS)
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2934
    Source Archive Number: Video Reel #4; Film Reel #9
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:59:00
    This page:

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