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German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (Blu-ray+DVD) BFI Ltd


On 29 September 1945, the incomplete rough-cut of a disturbing yet compelling documentary revealing the horrors of the German concentration camps was screened at the Ministry of Information in London.

For five months Sidney Bernstein had led a small team, including Stewart McAllister, Richard Crossman and Alfred Hitchcock, to complete the film from hours of footage. But this ambitious Allied project to create a feature-length visual report that would damn the Nazi regime and shame the German people into accepting the Allied occupation had missed its moment and was eventually shelved, unfinished. Even in its incomplete form, however, the film proved immensely powerful, generating a shocked silence among audiences. Now completed to its intended six reels, this faithfully restored and definitive version, produced by Imperial War Museums (IWM) and with a newly recorded narration by Jasper Britton, has been rightly compared to Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog (1955).

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Special Features

Presented with optional Intro and Outro that help to contextualise the film
Panel Discussion at BFI Southbank (2015, 42 mins): restoration director Dr Toby Haggith (IWM) is joined on stage by a panel of experts to discuss the film
Audio Commentary with Dr Toby Haggith and senior non-fiction curator Patrick Russell (BFI)
Vox Pops Compilation (2015, 6 mins): viewers reflect on the film after a screening at BFI Southbank
Testimony by Ludwig Weill at Fort Breendonk (1944, 3 mins): archival testimony with a liberated prisoner
Statements from Bergen-Belsen (1945, 18 mins): filmed statements from SS guards, liberated prisoners and members of the British Army
Interviews at Dachau (1945, 38 mins): archival interviews with recently liberated prisoners
Testimony by Dr Petr Zenkl (1945, 13 mins): archival testimony by the Czech politician, who was imprisoned at both Dachau and Buchenwald
Archival soundtrack: alternative soundtrack featuring only the narration and the original synch-sound
40-page booklet with essays on the making of the film and its restoration, and full film credits


Bluray, DVD