Scrapbookpages Blog

January 1, 2015

New documentary film, entitled “Night Will Fall,” revolves around a British propaganda film

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:57 am

Update Jan. 26, 2015:

HBO will show the documentary film, entitled “Night Will Fall” on January 26, 2015 at 9 p.m. EST. This is a film about the making of a film. Note that this film will be shown at 6 p.m. in California.

You can read about the film at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/arts/television/night-will-fall-examines-the-making-of-a-1945-holocaust-documentary.html?_r=0

Alfred Hitchcock typing with one finger, back in the day when he worked on propaganda films

Alfred Hitchcock typing with one finger, back in the day when he worked on propaganda films

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote:

The HBO documentary “Night Will Fall” is a movie about the Holocaust, a movie about remembering the Holocaust and primarily, at least in formal terms, a movie about a movie. It may not do full justice to all these subjects in its tight 78 minutes, but it’s not a film you’re likely to forget.

The most wrenching sequences in “Night Will Fall” are the scenes it incorporates from “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” a movie begun under the auspices of the British government in 1945. Using film shot by Allied cameramen at camps including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau, and assembled by a team that included Alfred Hitchcock as a supervising director, “Factual Survey” was meant to be a historical document and a teaching tool; among the stated goals of the filmmakers was that it be shown to Germans to prove to them that the horrors of the camps were real.

 End quote

Continue reading my original post:

Before some of my readers get upset and accuse me of calling a British World War II film “propaganda,” let me assure you that I am not the one who used the term “propaganda” to describe a British documentary film.

America also had “propaganda” teams, staffed by Jews who had been trained at Camp Ritchie in America, who came into the liberated camps and told “propaganda” stories that were total lies.

I blogged about this at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/alfred-de-grazia-commanding-officer-of-the-psychological-warfare-propaganda-team-attached-to-headquarters-of-the-us-7th-army/

This quote is from a news article, which you can read in full here:

[The film] Night Will Fall revolves around the making of Sidney Bernstein and Alfred Hitchcock’s propaganda film, German Concentration Camps, commissioned in 1945 to show German audiences the atrocities committed in the name of Nazism, but never screened at the time. […]

Bernstein, who would go on to found UK TV station Granada, had experienced the camps first-hand, having visited them within days of their liberation as part of Britain’s propaganda unit.

Did the British really have something called a “propaganda unit”?  I had to look up the word “propaganda” to really understand the purpose of the “Britain’s propaganda unit.”

This definition of propaganda is from this website:

Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors that are deliberately, and widely, spread to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, or other similar entity.

The word propaganda is usually used when describing official, government versions of events, where the implication is that the stories and information being given are distorted in such a manner as to conceal actual events, and to make you think in the way that the government wants you to think.

Propaganda is at its best when there is a war going on. Since WWI to the present time, propaganda has been used by the media to cheer their country on, sometimes through false hopes and lies. Often, during these periods, the government will leak out certain information of its choosing, and the media will report it, but not always in the way that it was given. In other words, propaganda is often used to misguide the public.

Photo of the children in Bergen-Belsen who came out to meet the British "liberators" of the camp

Photo of the children in Bergen-Belsen who came out to meet the British “liberators” of the camp

Notice the overweight woman in the back row in the photo above.  She was one of the healthy women at Bergen-Belsen, who did not have typhus.

Sign put up by the British warned visitors that there was a typhus epidemic in the camp

Sign put up by the British, after the camp was turned over to them, warned visitors that there was a typhus epidemic in the Bergen-Belsen camp

Irma Grese and Josef Kramer stayed behind to help the British, but they were arrested

Irma Grese and Josef Kramer stayed behind to help the British, but they were arrested (click to enlarge photo)

This quote is from the news article about the making of the film:

London-based film-maker André Singer spent the best part of two years studying gruesome images shot by allied troops as they liberated German concentration camps in 1945 for his documentary, Night Will Fall.

“It was the most appalling footage I’ve ever had to deal with in a pretty long career in film. You start off believing that you’ll get anaesthetised to it, but you don’t,” he says.

Night Will Fall revolves around the making of Sidney Bernstein and Alfred Hitchcock’s propaganda film, German Concentration Camps, commissioned in 1945 to show German audiences the atrocities committed in the name of Nazism, but never screened at the time.

“It was meant to show the German people the error of their ways, but events moved on and the project was shelved,” explains Singer. “In the period from the liberation of the camps in April 1945 through to the Nuremberg trials, the world was in chaos. It was an extraordinary time.”

So the British are now admitting that they made propaganda films about the concentration camps, including the Belsen camp that was voluntarily TURNED OVER TO THEM?

Bergen-Belsen was actually a very large camp which had 8 different sections.  You can read about the camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen00.html

This quote, from my website, is about section 6 where Anne Frank died:

6. Tent Camp (Zeltlager)

This camp was constructed at the beginning of August 1944. At first it was used as a transit camp for women’s transports arriving from Poland. In late October and early November 1944, around 3,000 women who had been evacuated from Auschwitz-Birkenau were housed in the tents because pre-fabricated barrack buildings which had been removed from the Plaszow camp near Cracow and transported to the Star Camp were not yet ready for them. According to Eberhard Kolb (Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945) the Dutch Red Cross was told that the prisoners in this transport were “ill but potentially curable women” and because of this, they were the first to be evacuated from Auschwitz-Birkenau. These sick women, who had just completed a journey of several days in overcrowded railroad cattle cars now had to camp out in tents with no heat, no toilets, no lighting, no beds and only a thin layer of straw covering the bare ground.

Anne Frank and her sister Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen from Auschwitz in October 1944 and most likely were housed temporarily in the tent camp. Due to their condition of ill health, the prisoners in the tent camp were not forced to work.

Josef Kramer, the Camp Commandant, who had been in charge of the Belsen camp for only 6 months, was arrested on the day that the British arrived.  He had met the British at the gate into the camp and offered his help.  What a fool!  He should have escaped and gone to Argentina.

The photo below shows Josef Kramer after he was arrested.

Josef Kramer was arrested after he offered to help the British

Josef Kramer was arrested after he offered to help the British