Shalom Life | January 31, 2015

Unaired Hitchcock Holocaust Film Finally Shown on HBO

The film titled 'Night Will Fall,' featuring footage of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Auschwitz camps, is finally being shown 70 years after its creation

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: January 28th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: Screenshot from 'Night Will Fall'


A film that’s taken 70 years to be released, HBO’s Night Will Fall, was aired this past Monday in 15 countries to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place every year on the eve of the liberation of infamous death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The film features graphic and upsetting footage taken by Alfred Hitchcock during the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Auschwitz in 1945. Men, women, and children buried naked in mass graves, and the discovery of warehouses filled with teeth or other human remains, mark just some of the footage on the 5 finished reels, and 100 unedited ones.

According to The Times of Israel, Night Will Fall was originally a project commissioned by the British government and produced by Hitchcock and media mogul Sidney Bernstein. It was intended as a “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey” that was supposed to be shown to German audiences in order to expose the truth of what the Nazis had done, and show them the real horrors of the Holocaust.

Unfortunately, when the Cold War came about the British government decided to scrap the project as they feared it would complicate their relationship with Germany, and alienate them, in a post-war Europe. Since allying themselves with Germany was a strong strategic decision, the film was never finished and the completed reels left unaired.

The films have been on display at the London Imperial War Museum archives for the last 70 years. This new version of Night Will Fall, directed by Andre Singer, incorporates Hitchcock’s footage taken at the end of the war along with interview recently taken of the project’s original crew. The original footage blended with modern interviews gives audiences incredible insight not only on the events of 1945, but what it was like to be there filming.

The film gets its name, reportedly, from the original Bernstein-Hitchcock script which state, “Unless the world learns the lessons these pictures teach, night will fall.”

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