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Plenary Session and Eyewitness panel

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.3801 | Film ID: 2643

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    Plenary Session and Eyewitness panel


    10:44:21 Continuation of Plenary Session from Film ID 2641 with Alan Rose. The mark left on the liberators and survivors, as well as mankind, as a result of the Holocaust.

    10:46:14 Eyewitness testimony. Rabbi Herschel Schacter, Jewish Army Chaplain in 8th Corps of 3rd Army. Can't fathom enormity of tragedy. 10:47:54 April 11, 1945 learned tanks entered Buchenwald and went there. Dungeon on face of earth. 10:49:14 Photos (crematorium) passed around, delegates listening. Describes what he saw. Never forget scene, no words to describe it. Still smoke from ovens, furnaces were hot, hundreds of dead bodies scattered. He felt inner rage. 10:51:04 Asks lieutenant are there any Jews left in camp? Taken to "little camp." 10:51:26 Delegates listening, crying, wiping eyes. He recalls hundreds of emaciated men, haunted eyes. 10:52:39 He shouted in Yiddish "you are free," they asked "is it over?" He ran through the barracks shouting, Jews followed him. 10:53:37 They asked him "Does the world know what happened to us?" Crying delegates. 10:55:06 20,000 inmates estimated in camp, most political prisoners. 10:57:28 People left to find friends, family. He organized religious ceremonies, handed out prayer books (gave one to Elie Wiesel). 10:59:47 Now here to remember, repeat, keep alive the story. Why were we spared? Agitates his mind and heart, spared for one reason: to deny Hitler victory. "I will not die, I will live." 11:01:20 We must tell the story. 11:01:30 Applause. (p. 35 "Liberation of Camps")

    11:02:11 Ephraim Wekselfish, International Chairman of Disabled Jewish Veterans. One of first men to attach victory flag on Berlin Reichstag. Speaks Yiddish and Hebrew with translator, Dr. Gideon Hausner (Eichmann prosecutor).

    11:04:05 Fische, in Soviet Army, fought at Stalingrad, joined 1st Division. Fische speaks Yiddish. 11:06:53 Translated - Fische brings greetings from war veterans. 11:08:46 Camera on Elie Wiesel. 11:09:00 Translated - Fische appeals for eternal peace, in Israel, for fighters killed. 11:09:46 Fische holds up book and reads. 11:11:30 Book lists Jewish names in Red Army. 11:12:30 Crying delegates in audience. Talks about Majdenek. 11:14:00 Describes what he saw there "last ounce of energy was squeezed out of them." 11:14:53 Fische finishes. Applause. 11:15:50 Won't continue reading. (p. 38 "Liberation of Camps")

    11:16:42 Chairman thanks for testifying. "Do you have to live in the past? No, the past lives in us."

    11:17:50 Chairman announces lunch break. [Screen goes to black at 11:18:48 to 11:20:02.] TC jumps to 00:20:02, to Fred W. Friendly, a war correspondent who witnessed the liberation of Mauthausen, telling the audience he decided not to speak. Instead he will play president of CBS Edward R. Murrow's report from Buchenwald in 1945.

    [TC jumps to 13:25:04]. Mid-speech with poor sound quality at first. Describes Buchenwald, smiling with their eyes, enters barracks, men want to pick him up but too weak. Describes his visits to the barracks, kitchen and courtyard stacked with dead bodies.

    13:35:40 Boyd Lewis, war correspondent, European news manager for United Press. Responsibility was to assign correspondents to cover liberation. Silence after Murrow's tape is the greatest applause. Speaks on credibility. People doubted, after printing reports in papers on camps, that correspondents were giving the true picture. Thought it was overdone, over-emotional. Communications VIP delegation from USA went to Paris to "put the picture in perspective." Went to camps, by end of week he "looked upon men who had gazed into the jaws of hell." Now they believed. Applause. (p. 45 "Liberation of Camps")

    13:41:04 Chairman introduces Col. Curtis Mitchell, media coordinator in war. Now freelance writer, editor, motion picture director. Heard things that cannot be put into words. Talks of Murrow and start of liberation. Talks of how news gets out. Compares what he saw to what has been said today by Mitchell re: Belsen. Describes making SS guards carry bodies into trucks. Mass graves. He took photo with himself there to help establish credibility. Describes people: degraded, dehumanized. Men building fires in rooms, using corner of room as toilet (once freed). People paid the price of imprisonment with their reason, process of thought. No facilities for people until setup DP camps. Describes them. (p. 46 "Liberation of Camps")

    13:57:31 Svenn Seehusen, Danish journalist and member of the Resistance Press delivers an unprepared speech. Seehusen discusses how Denmark accepted German occupation, and the importance of the underground paper. Tape cuts off mid-speech. 14:02:58.
    Event:  10/27/1981
    Production:  1981
    Washington, DC, United States
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    10:44:20:00 to 14:02:58:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2643 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2643 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2643 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
      Master 2643 Video: Betacam SP - color - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2643 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2643 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2643 Video: VHS - 1/2 inch - color - NTSC
      Preservation 2643 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 2642 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: 3979
    Source Archive Number: Reel 43
    Additional Accession Number: 2001.136
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:04:25
    This page:

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