“Night Will Fall” is a must-see documentary

Tomorrow, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, a documentary program will be presented by HBO:  ‘Night Will Fall‘.  The New York Daily News describes it:

The Hitchcock documentary was about the Allied liberation of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and many other Nazi death camps. It was commissioned by the British Ministry of Information with Sidney Bernstein producing and Hitchcock as supervising director. But as reconciliation took place, the Brits needed post-World War II Germany as an ally in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

And so the damning film with footage taken by military cameramen of living skeletons, acres of Jewish corpses and warehouses stuffed with human hair and teeth was shelved to placate the shamed Germans, and has remained buried until now.

The never-before-publicly-seen footage is so graphic, so stunning, so disturbing — even seven decades later — that it almost makes you ashamed to be a member of the same species as those responsible for it. You could almost hear your thumping heart breaking amid the pervasive, shocked silence in the dark auditorium.

“Night Will Fall,” produced by Brett Ratner and Sally Angel, and directed by Andre Singer, premieres on HBO and in 15 countries worldwide on Monday as part of Holocaust Memorial Day. Its title comes from a quote in the film’s voice-over, “Unless the world learns the lessons these pictures teach, night will fall.”

There’s more at the link.  Here’s a trailer for the documentary.

The tragic thing is, because this documentary has been suppressed for so long, and because footage of Holocaust atrocities is so seldom broadcast, a whole generation – more than one generation – has lost touch with just how horrifying this part of history really was.  Partly as a result, there have been more such atrocities in the years since:  the Killing Fields, Srebrenica, Sabra and Shatila, Rwanda, and heaven knows how many more.

We need to see these images . . . these people.  Man’s inhumanity to man, personified.  We need to remember, so that they may never be forgotten.  May their souls rest in whatever peace is possible to them.

Apart from this documentary (which I intend to buy on DVD as soon as I can), I highly recommend the movie ‘Schindler’s List‘ and the ‘Genocide‘ episode of the award-winning series ‘The World At War‘, as well as the two-part bonus documentary ‘The Final Solution’ in the extended DVD edition of that series.  (The latter is available on YouTube at present:  Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.  However, they may be taken down soon, as most uploads from ‘The World At War’ seem to be removed fairly quickly, presumably for copyright reasons.)  All are (or will soon be) part of my permanent library.  I think everyone should own them, and re-screen them periodically so that we never forget.



  1. Add The Nuremberg Trials to the list it was a documentary that was shown in my 8th grade history class (1965). Parents had to sign permission slips. I didn't sleep for a week afterwards.

  2. Compelling and realistic. I visited Auschwitz two years ago. It is actually Brzezinka (camp site around 3 km from Auschwitz concentration camp) where they killed all the people. It is a terrible and haunted place. I hope that this will never repeat.

  3. Sadly, there are those who will see this and declare it to be fake, a film made to establish the reality of a thing that never happened. The only way to combat the willful, and often evil, ignorance of such people is to make sure as many people as possible see this. It is particularly important that people see this, I think, now that the world seems poised, once again, on the brink of madness.

  4. My Dad fought in WWII (101 ABN, 501 PIR). I asked him in about 1947, when I was 6, "Why did you fight in the war?". He checked out the liberation films from the post film library and the family watched them for several hours one night.

    "To help stop this" was his quietly-spoken answer.

    Evil demands an armed response lest it come to this.

  5. And don't forget the Armenian Genocide- seeing the old photo's of rows of crucified naked young women will burn a hole in your soul.

  6. I went to the holocaust museum in Israel, and spent a couple of hours walking the tour path, surrounded by a couple of groups of new IDF troops. Half-expecting to see a grandparent on some list, I didn't.

    Almost made it the whole tour without losing it. Almost.

  7. Another movie to add to the list is The Grey Zone. I think that along with Schindler's List should be part of the high school curriculum.

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