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Russians meet Americans at Torgau; dancing

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.2690 | Film ID: 961

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    Russians meet Americans at Torgau; dancing


    Color film coverage of Americans linking up with Russians on the Elbe River in April 1945. Boat comes toward shore, lands. Foreign officer (possibly French Naval officer) in dark blue uniform is greeted. Mounted Russian soldiers with sabers. Horses loaded on pontoon ferry boat. Women seated on tractors.

    Stevens and Captain walk to the river, meet Russians. Shot of Stevens, on Russian side of river. Russian officer walking with a cane. Stevens, cameraman holding tripod talking with Russians. CUs of Russian army officers and soldiers. Americans and Russians looking at money. Stevens and Russians standing around camera. Sgt. Bill Hamilton looks through Russian camera on tripod. Hamilton shows Russian how to use eyemo camera.

    Two-star and one-star generals arrive. (Handwritten annotation by LoC catalogers indicates that this footage was shot on the first day that the Russians and Americans met at the Elbe River.) Russian taking picture of general with hand-cranked camera. Posed shot of officers in front of British, American and Russian flags. Large group of men walking across field behind flag, appears to be photo session of Russians, Americans and British linking up. Flags visible. Cameramen rushing toward Stevens' camera. Officers and flags follow. The center of attention are the high-ranking officers of the three countries. They enter a compound. The Russian one-star commander with medals talks with two-star American general. Stevens walks toward camera amidst the group.

    Three Russian women military. Bill Hamilton with a dozen Russian soldiers, pans to American with glasses (Dickie Hoar - one of Stevens crew). Stevens and Bill Hamilton with group of Russian soldiers. Stevens offers hand, Russian shakes it reluctantly. Good shot of Stevens talking with the Russians. Stevens seated with a group (Pat Ashworth on far left), Russian comes up and shakes his hand. Russians wearing medals. CU of medals on Russian soldier's chest.

    Russian armored vehicle with soldiers on top. CUs of small groups of Russians and Americans, including Dick Hoar. Group of soldiers and women ride off in horse-drawn carriage. Sign board reads: "Frankfurt 150 kms, Marzberg 24 kms, Liebenwerte 33 kms."

    Russian soldier dancing in front of trucks. Stevens takes off helmet, Russian soldier still dancing. Two Russian soldiers playing drum and accordion. Another Russian soldier dancing, pan to musicians. CU, sign reads: "Herzberg 27 kms." Open truck with many GIs. Stevens and Russian officer working with machine gun. Red Cross man standing by. Russian shows Stevens how to shoot. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

    Sign on tree in Russian reads: "Torgau." LS of damaged bridge down river. Trees, explosion in BG, white smoke. Red flag.

    Two men in town of Torgau, fighting. Cameraman filming Torgau sign. Stevens walks up with Ivan Moffat and looks at it. CU of sign reads: "Torgau, Kreis Torgau."
    Event:  1945 April
    Production:  1945
    Elbe River, 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
    00:12:25:05 to 00:22:48:17
    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.
    These notes were recorded from a conversation with Ivan Moffat in 1983 after the materials were donated to the Library of Congress. Moffat was one of the members of Stevens film crew. These are his recollections of the encounter with the Russians at Torgau: "There was an extraordinary feeling of reality, that we had circled the world, the circle was complete to Wlodawa. There was a feeling of uncertainty, we didn't know what the Russians would be like. Bellicose? Friendly? We knew that war couldn't last much longer, this was no surprise. The Germans had no where to stand, we could relax for the first time since we were on the front, there was no longer an enemy in front, for the first time, and this is a nice feeling if you are driving around in an open jeep. People talk glibly of why we didn't push on to Berlin, but the Russians had 4,000 tanks around Berlin."
    Copied From
    16mm color reversal film
    Film Source
    Library of Congress - Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS)
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2938
    Source Archive Number: Video Reel #4; Film Reel #9
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:56:46
    This page:

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