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Alfred Hitchcock’s Memory of the Camps
“Some films are slices of life, mine are slices of cake,” Alfred Hitchcock once said. But one documentary he produced in 1945 confronted reality head-on: Memory of the Camps. Directed by Sidney Bernstein and produced by Hitchcock, the film was edited together from footage of the Nazi death camps shot by the British Army Film Unit after liberation by the Allies. Hitchcock’s big contribution was in suggesting to Bernstein that he emphasise the close proximity of the camps to population centres – making the case that the general public in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied territories were aware of the slaughter. Though a conjurer of horrific images himself, the Master of Suspense was so affected by these images of the Holocaust that he disappeared from Pinewood Studios for a week in a deep depression. The British Film Board ultimately chose not to release Memory of the Camps for fear it would stir up such fervor against Germany that post-war reconstruction would be derailed. It finally made its debut at the Berlin Film Festival in 1984, but has rarely been shown since.
(1945), Allied troops marching into Germany at the end of World War II found evidence of atrocities which have tortured the world's conscience ever since. As these troops entered Nazi concentration camps and faced the horrors of gas chambers, medical experimentation labs, crematoria, and haunted, starving survivors, they made a film record of what they saw.
This was put together by Alfred Hitchcock, who could not bear to publish it, from movies filmed by teams first into the camps!