Free

Cambridge HMD Film & Discussion - German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Auditorium LAB 003, Lord Ashcroft Building

Anglia Ruskin University

East Road

Cambridge

CB1 1PT

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description

Description

Wednesday 31st January 2018 screening of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey is a public history event and is part of the Holocaust Memorial Day programme organized by Helen Weinstein of Historyworks in partnership with Dr Toby Haggith, Curator of the Imperial War Museum who will introduce this important film, which is kindly hosted at Anglia Ruskin University by Dr Sean Lang. We welcome everyone in Cambridge interested to participate!

Organized for free with tickets via Eventbrite, (donations to Amnesty), with places restricted to over 18s. Speakers for the panel discussion (which takes place immediately after the screening) will be chaired by Dr Toby Haggith, with invited speakers including Peter Lantos, Rainer Schulze, George Smith, Jean Khalfa tbc.

Location: Lord Aschroft Building film theatre called LAB 003, at Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge. Screening at 5pm with discussion ending at 7.15pm. All welcome!

About German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (GCCFS)

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey is the official British documentary of the German concentration camps and atrocities discovered when the Allies liberated occupied Europe.

The film is unique and the reels were hugely important at the time in terms of documenting war crimes. The GCCFS is compiled from footage shot by combat and newsreel cameramen and covers the scenes at fourteen locations (ten camps and four sites of atrocity) discovered in Austria, Germany and Poland.

It begins with a prologue compilation of Nazi propaganda film and then deals with each camp or site of atrocity in turn, from Belsen, through Dachau, Buchenwald and other camps and sites of atrocity, concluding with coverage of Auschwitz and Majdanek in Poland.

History of the Film

The documentary was ordered in April 1945 by SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) and was to be the film screened in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich - shown to German prisoners of war wherever they were held.

Sidney Bernstein (founder of Granada Television) was the Producer of the film at Britain’s Ministry of Information. Bernstein assembled a small but distinguished and expert team in 1945 to work on the project and this included the editors Stewart McAllister (acclaimed for his work with Humphrey Jennings) and Peter Tanner and the writers Colin Wills and Richard Crossman (writer, German expert and future cabinet minister).

Bernstein sought the help of Alfred Hitchcock, who is known to have given important advice on how the film should be put together. Bernstein described Hitchcock as the film’s 'Director', but given that all the footage had been shot prior to Hitchcock’s month-long involvement on the project and that he was not in England to oversee the editing of the rough-cut, it is more accurate to retrospectively describe him as the treatment adviser.

The GCCFS was not completed in 1945. There were significant reasons for hesitation which undermined the potential impact of this important film. From the start of the project, there were a number of problems including the practical difficulties of international co-operation and the realities of post-war shortages. These issues delayed the film long enough to be overtaken by other events including the completion of two other presentations of concentration camp footage to the German people and the evolution of occupation policy, where the authorities no longer considered a one-hour compilation of atrocity material appropriate.

The last official action on the film was a screening of an incomplete rough-cut on 29 September 1945, after which the film was shelved, unfinished.

Although there was an intention to return to the film in the spring of 1946, this never happened, and in 1952, IWM inherited the mute rough-cut of five reels of the planned six-reel film, along with 100 compilation reels of unedited footage of atrocities and scenes in the camps after they were liberated, shot by Allied cameramen. IWM also acquired a script for the voice-over commentary and a detailed shot list for the complete film.

In the early 1980s curators at the Imperial War Museum and a researcher working on a biography of Sidney Bernstein became aware of the importance of the material (at this stage accessioned and preserved but untitled) and the five reel rough cut was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in February 1984, with the allocated title Memory of the Camps (pre-digitisation and without the sixth reel). This version was also screened in 1985; the five reels were broadcast on Frontline, part of the WGBH Boston PBS network. The commentary was read by Trevor Howard; Frontline concluding the film by directing Howard to read the last 14 lines of the commentary accompanied by scenes shot after the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Restoration of the Film

A need for restoration of the copies of Memory of the Camps had become apparent after the film had been shown widely as a popular loan item. IWM believed that the project to restore the film could also encompass work to complete it, using the filmmakers' original directions (the rough cut, shot list and script for the commentary) and all reels of source material that had been assembled back in 1945 to make the film

The work to restore and complete the film began in December 2008, when the IWM team - including Dr Toby Haggith, George Smith, Andrew Bullas and David Walsh - investigated whether the sequences for reel six, as described in the original shot list, could be found among the 100 component reels of unedited footage, deposited with the rough-cut in 1952.

IWM discovered all the scenes listed for the sixth reel, except for two maps, one of which has now been especially created. As well as completing the film, IWM revisited the original masters and component reels, digitally scanning these and assembling the whole film from scratch. The work was carried out in collaboration with Dragon DI - a digital post-production company in Wales, UK.

The film now has the title German Concentration Camps Factual Survey - as originally listed in the Ministry of Information Catalogue of Films for Liberated Territories, published in September 1945. The original commentary has been re-recorded with the voice of actor Jasper Britton and an effects track created, blending the existing synch sound recordings made at Belsen with authentic Army Film and Photographic Unit recordings made on the battlefields of NW Europe (1944-1945), which are held in IWM’s collection.

David Walsh - Restoration Producer
Dr Toby Haggith - Restoration Director
George Smith - Restoration Editor
Andrew Bullas - Off-line Editor
Damon Cleary - Graphics
Jane Fish - Commercial Liaison
Corinna Reicher - Translator
Suzanne Bardgett - Historical Adviser
Kay Gladstone - Historical Adviser
Roger Smither - Historical Adviser
Jasper Britton - Narrator
Vincenzo Cannatella - Dubbing Mixer

The picture was scanned, restored and digitally assembled at Dragon DI.

The soundtrack was mixed and recorded at Prime Focus.

Further reading:

Toby Haggith, 'Restoring and Completing German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (1945/2014), Formerly Known and Memory of the Camps', in the Journal of Film Preservation, 04.2015, pp. 95-101

Toby Haggith, 'The 1945 Documentary German Concentration Camps Factual Survey and the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Camps'. The Holocaust in History and Memory, vol. 7 (2014), pp. 181-97.

Kay Gladstone, ‘Separate Intentions: The Allied Screening of Concentration Camp Documentaries in Defeated Germany in 1945-46: Death Mills and Memory of the Camps’ in Toby Haggith and Joanna Newman (eds.) Holocaust and the Moving Image: Representations in Film and Television Since 1933 (Wallflower Press: 2005), pp. 50-64

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Auditorium LAB 003, Lord Ashcroft Building

Anglia Ruskin University

East Road

Cambridge

CB1 1PT

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Save This Event

Event Saved