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Several liberators tell their stories during Plenary Session

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.3799 | Film ID: 2641

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    Several liberators tell their stories during Plenary Session


    Miles Lerman at podium, introduces individuals one by one and calls them to the dais. Session is chaired by Sigmund Strochlitz, survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Strochlitz speaks. Cutaways to some delegates listening. Speaks of liberation from viewpoint of survivors, waiting, life ebbing away. Shared dismay at current denial of the Holocaust and the killing of six million Jews, millions of others. The victims and the victors are now preserve the truth.

    9:22:22 Strochlitz introduces first witness, Dr. Leon Bass, Buchenwald liberator. 9:22:58 Bass speaks. Joined the army aged 18, put in a segregated unit, because he was Black. Training in the South. April 1945 in Weimar, unprepared for what he found at Buchenwald. He was 19 years old. Not here to dwell on the horrors. But we must tell what happened. We cannot ignore...must use the media...focus attention across the world. But if we want to avoid another Holocaust, then we have a personal responsibility to do something about it.... Quotes James Baldwin, the fire next time. It isn't enough to give money ...if you laugh at ethnic jokes, or turn away from prejudice in order to get ahead. Impassioned plea for involvement and confrontation. If we remain silent, if we pass by on the other side, we are sowing the seeds for another Holocaust. 9:30:40 "Is the price too high?" If you dare to be a Daniel and go into the lion's den... dare to live up to the 10 Commandments or the Koran, you are vulnerable. Applause.

    9:31:56 Capt. George Blackburn, Royal Canadian Artillery...liberator of Westerbork in the Netherlands. 9:32:35. Denies being a liberator. No one person, unit, army...could liberate a concentration camp. Sense of inferiority in the presence of those who survived the camps. Westerbork was a collection center for Jews of the Netherlands, not a camp. ... Describes people coming out of the huts... like the whimpering of an ill or frightened animal... arms attempting to touch us, the vehicle, preoccupied with knowing whether the soldiers were real... wouldn't move out of the way. He pulled his pistol to quiet them down, and explained that they had to continue on after the Germans. 'That's all I saw.' Applause

    9:39:27 Dr. Michal Chilczuk participated in liberation of Sachsenhausen (Oranienburg), member of the Polish delegation. Emotion on the surface, speaking to those who lived through cataclysm. I come from the country where the Nazis established over 2000 different camps... (names varieties of camps). Some cutaways. Speaks of Polish Army. Speaks of Sachsenhausen. 9:47:44 Cutaway Miles Lerman listening at dais. 9:48:25 Describes the look of those liberated. Eyes.... 9:49:26 Elie Wiesel listening with rapt attention at dais. And again at 9:50:04. Speaks of medical services. 'Bad'...'good'.... Some of you have now filled up the bad with good..... 9:51:30 Separate piles of clothing of men, of women, of children, German orderliness. After Oranienburg and Sachsenberg tragedy, we went west, to the Elbe...met Americans. 9:53:53 Cutaway to shoulder of a uniform and badge 'Jewish Brigade'. Concludes. 9:55:25 Applause, embraced by Elie Wiesel, handshakes with Strochlitz, Miles Lerman. Appreciation on their faces for his passion and eloquence.

    9:55:55 Strochlitz introduces next witness, member of the French delegation. Guy Fassina, in charge of repatriation of prisoners from camps after the war. Speaks in French. 10:01:30 speaks of racism, antisemitism....Finishes in English.

    10:04:50 Strochlitz introduces Member of the Soviet Delegation: Major General Alexei Kirillovich Gorlinsky, liberator of Theresienstadt. Gorlinsky speaks in Russian. Yaffa Eliach seen in audience.

    10:13:57 Strochlitz introduces Colonel Don Hiram, one of the first Israelis to enter Bergen-Belsen, active in transport of Jewish DPs to Mediterranean area, member of the Jewish Brigade. 10:14:40. Colonel Hiram speaks in English.

    10:19:24 Strochlitz introduces Dr. Doughlas G. Kelling, participated in the liberation of Dachau, medical officer, member of the American delegation. 10:20:10 Mentions 45 Infantry Division and 42nd Infantry Division. He was a psychiatrist with the 45th Inf. Div. Includes facts, description of physical plant. Clinical description of condition of prisoners.

    10:30:02 Introduction of Lt. General William Quinn, participated in liberation of Dachau, medical officer, member of the American delegation. He was intelligence officer for 7th Army during planning of invasion of southern France. Had reports of camps and of atrocities, but nothing in the reports equaled what he saw. Bavaria was eventually a target and goal for liberation. Spontaneous speaker, seemingly without a text. 10:34:02 Cutaway to Romana Primus. When he saw Dachau, he wanted it documented (OSS, CIC, other units brought in). [Tape briefly jumps from TCR 10:35:43 to 01:26:20. Tape continues until 01:26:25 and then jumps back to 10:35:49].

    Tape jumps from 10:36:35 to 01:27:11. Lt. General William Quinn sits down amid applause. The Chairman introduces the next eye witness, Allan Rose of the Canadian Jewish Congress, participated in liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Tape cuts off mid-speech. 01:27:39
    Event:  10/27/1981
    Production:  1981
    Washington, DC, United States
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    09:10:08:00 to 10:27:38:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2641 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2641 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2641 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2641 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2641 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2641 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2641 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2641 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Conditions on Use
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum places no restrictions on use of this material. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this film footage.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    1" master video reel stored with USHMM Institutional Records in the USHMM Archives.
    See Film ID 2640 for duplicate content.

    The International Liberators Conference took place at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. from October 26-28, 1981. The conference was sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. A publication titled "The Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps 1945" (1987) summarizes the testimonies.
    Copied From
    Film Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Council
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 3977
    Source Archive Number: Reel 41
    Additional Accession Number: 2001.136
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:04:25
    This page:

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