In April 1945, the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated by British troops, and soldiers captured the liberation on film. They filmed the relief of the survivors, but also the terrifying reality of the camps, which were full to the brim with emaciated and dead prisoners. London-based producer Sidney Bernstein and Alfred Hitchcock made it their mission to edit the many hours of material from several concentration camps into a cinematic whole: the resulting documentary was called German Concentration Camps. For the British government the film was a major asset, as it would serve as proof of the systematic atrocities of the Nazi regime. But as the making of the film progressed, the political situation changed and fear started growing that showing the film would stand in the way of rebuilding Germany. In the end, Bernstein and Hitchcock’s five film reels were shelved. Recently, the Imperial War Museums decided to restore the film and to finish it. Night Will Fall tells the story behind the creation of the film. The calm voice-over and the stylized interviews with those who were there form a sharp contrast to the horror of Bernstein’s archive material. After 70 years, postwar generations finally have access to perhaps the most powerful and most gruesome film in the history of British cinema.
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