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American occupation of European towns: daily life; reconstruction; Red Cross

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 2013.518 | RG Number: RG-60.1499 | Film ID: 2999

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    American occupation of European towns: daily life; reconstruction; Red Cross


    EXT, large building, broken windows. Two young women smile at the camera, sign behind them: "Off Limets" [sic]. Cows pull a wagon through village street. Men on bikes. Post with a swastika on top. Pedestrians walking, smiling at camera. Ruins of a building. Two women inspect the debris. Airplane in the sky. People walking past bombed out buildings. Rubble. Rooms of a house exposed due to bombing damage. Boy stands outside.

    30:35 American soldier looks at bombed homes. Sign: "Danger, Base, Athletic Field" with an arrow. Soldier walks in the direction of the arrow past a dilapidated shed. Soldiers play volleyball. Soldiers in uniform lounge on the grass and talk to each other, look at the camera, and smile. A soldier in uniform pulls a log out of rubble. Men in civilian clothing clear debris and dig out.

    33:32 Band performs (guitar, saxophone, trumpet, violin). Woman in white dress with a black sequin halter bodice dances and twirls as the men play music. Another woman dances. Man on unicycle juggles several hoops, pins, hats, and hoops again. Men and women smiling into the camera, pan to swastika and eagle on the wall behind them.

    36:10 Sign: "Danger Base" with arrow. Soldier walks near street sign. Men shovel rubble as smoke rises from the ground. American soldier stands at the edge of a bridge looking down at the water. Makeshift Red Cross hospital with nurse on doorstep. Women with dog and young girl. Sign: "Besuch verboten" [Visiting forbidden]. Boy stands with a baby carriage. Soldiers, a nurse, and civilian women talking in front of the hospital doors. People enter the hospital.

    37:17 Men in uniforms in front of a fence, CUs. Men put shaving cream on their faces, yawn, shave. Soldiers talk, eat, smoke.

    EXT building with German inscriptions in gold on the façade. Men inspect rubble. Village man carries a load. Trees. Rubble. The skeleton of a building, destroyed homes, soldier on one knee with his gun in the midst of rubble. Sign: "Eingang streng verboten" [Entrance strictly forbidden]. Sign: "Zutritt zu dem Bahnhof ist Unbefugten streng verboten" [Unauthorized entrance to the train station is strictly forbidden]. Man herds cattle. Sign over a building's front door with Red Cross sign, "Off limits to military. Kein eingang" [No entrance]. Door opens. Doctor walks down street. Man holding briefcase under his arm smiles. Sign carved on door: "Landwirtshaeftliche Hochschule" [Agricultural University]. Sign: "Kuratorium der Universitaet." Bombed-out dome. Another sign: "Chemisches Institut der Universitaet." Men hose and sweep a street.

    40:45 COLOR. Long rolled up banner with swastika insignia pattern. American soldier with swastika-and-eagle flag wrapped around his waist points a gun at the camera, turns away, points to the sky. A giant swastika is on his backside. He turns back around toward the camera and inspects the gun. The man walks on swastika patterned fabric. Soldier in the makeshift-flag-skirt salutes the camera. Two soldiers unroll swastika pattern fabric. Soldier smoking. Soldiers examine fabric, a gun, bayonets.

    44:37 B/W Two women smile at the camera and kiss. American soldier in a doorway, smiling, pan. Another soldier in a helmet appears, takes his helmet off, smiles broadly toward the camera, walks away. AGFA logo.

    45:41 COLOR. American soldier standing on the street looks into the camera, smiles, smokes. CU, 1st Infantry Division uniform insignia and service ribbons. Countryside and factory. Soldiers walk through the street in Verviers, Belgium. A child roller-skates. Coca Cola ad. American soldier salutes the camera and talks to the camera. Memorial monument. Woman in vibrant red dress walks under laundry lines and talks to the camera. She poses, walks on the cobblestone, talks. Riverside, laundry lines, cafes and shops. People walk and pass on bikes. Homes, shops, a church in Verviers. Two blonde, rosy-cheeked children smile at the camera. The girl playfully tugs on the boy's neck, smiles, and kisses the boy's cheek. Girl holds a doll. Views of the bridge, people walk and cars drive over it. Sign: "Bieres Artois." Buildings along the river. Sign: "Pro Station," Red Cross on top. Sign: "Occasion, Vente, Achat, Echange." A table with assorted items.

    49:25 B/W American soldier wearing a helmet smokes a cigarette. He takes his gun off his shoulder and out of its holster. He prepares it and, with his cigarette still in his mouth, aims it. Multiple shots. The man reverses his actions and laughs at the camera. Soldiers walking and smoking. Path surrounded by bushes and rubble. Shovel. Man pulls up his trousers. Large group of soldiers dump pans into giant trash cans. They inspect an abandoned car. Soldier walks around the ruins of a house seen earlier. CU, book: "Solomon, My Son! by John Erskine." Soldier reads it and yawns.
    Event:  May? 1945
    Verviers, Belgium
    Property of Chrisam Films and courtesy of the Academy Film Archive
    Camera Operator: Samuel Fuller
    During World War II, Hollywood director Samuel Fuller (1912-1997) was a member of the U.S. First Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Big Red One" for its shoulder patch. He used a 16mm Bell & Howell camera that his mother sent him while he was overseas to record the aftermath of the liberation of Falkenau concentration camp as well as other infantry actions. Fuller made the 1980 film, "The Big Red One," based on his experience in the division.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:26:52:00 to 00:53:10:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2999 Digital: ProRes 422 - color - HD
      Master 2999 Digital: ProRes 422 - color - HD
      Master 2999 Digital: ProRes 422 - color - HD
      Master 2999 Digital: ProRes 422 - color - HD

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This archival media can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations.
    Academy Film Archive
    Conditions on Use
    For extensive research requests and to obtain permission from the Academy Film Archive to reproduce and use this film, contact

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Copied From
    Film Source
    Academy Film Archive
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 5724
    Source Archive Number: 27748
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:53:31
    This page:

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