Night Will Fall: Lost Documentary About German Concentration Camps

Researchers discover film footage from World War II that turns out to be a lost documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about German concentration camps.

On the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th many TV channels around the world will show Night Will Fall, a British film about the horrors of the Holocaust. The atrocities of the Holocaust and the World War II have been chronicled in cinema multiple times but Night Will Fall is a powerful documentary that serves as a reminder of why this story still needs to be told.

This documentary project tells a story of another film called “German Concentration Camp Factual Survey” that consists of the footage filmed during the spring and summer of 1945, and that hadn’t been published for 70 years. It depicts how the allied forces began to liberate the concentration camps and witnessed the full scale of monstrous Nazi activities.

The newly formed military units were armed with cameras when they were dispatched to camps like Dachau, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen to gather material for allied propaganda films about what soldiers had been fighting for. However, none of them were fully prepared for what they were about to see.

In the footage they obtained, dead bodies are strewn carelessly outdoors while the living are struggling to survive nearby; piles of hair, glasses, shoes, clothing, and personal items are all carefully sorted and stacked, taken from victims who would later be killed. The footage is an eye-opening and detailed account of the reality in concentration camps.

Night Will Fall was directed by Andre Singer and narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. The documentary runs less than ninety minutes and includes interviews with camp survivors and cameramen, as well as raw footage. It manages to bring the horrific reality of the Holocaust into terrifying focus that will leave the viewers shaken. Night Will Fall is an important reflection of the darkest hour in human history.

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