One of the most vivid depictions of the horrors of Nazi Concentration Camps. Filmed in 1955 at several concentration camps in Poland, the film combines new color and black and white footage with black and white newsreels, footage shot by the victorious allies, and stills, to tell the story not only of the camps, but to portray the horror of man's brutal inhumanity.
Bill Randolph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Did You Know?
At the 1954 exhibition at the Institut Pedagogique National, producer Anatole Dauman
asked director Alain Resnais
to direct a study of the Holocaust. But Resnais wasn't keen as he didn't want to express opinions on an event that he hadn't witnessed. His condition was that novelist Jean Cayrol
agree to script the commentary. Cayrol, however, was even more reluctant to go near the project, given that he was a Holocaust survivor and didn't want to revisit some very painful memories. Resnais' collaborator Chris Marker
was able to persuade him otherwise. See more
In the film a popular myth about the Third Reich is presented as fact: The claim that the body fat of prisoners in extermination camps was used to produce soap.
Though evidence does exist of small-scale soap production, possibly experimental, in the camp at Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig/Gdansk, mainstream scholars of the Holocaust consider the idea that the Nazis manufactured soap on an industrial scale to be part of World War II folklore. See more
A concentration camp is built like a stadium, a grand hotel. You need contractors, estimates, competitive offers and no doubt friends in high places.
Before its original release, there was a still of a French gendarme (policeman) watching a roundup at Pithiviers. He is easily recognizable by the characteristic French "kepi." Wanting to deny complicity, French censors insisted this shot not be allowed, so for its original release, the image was altered so that a wooden beam covered the gendarme and his kepi. In 1997 or 98, the original version of the film was re-released in France, finally revealing the gendarme. The original American release of the film did not translate all the dialogue for the subtitles, in particular leaving out one of the two references to Jews: "Annette, from Bordeaux." Subsequent releases restored the original text: "Annette, a Jew from Bordeaux." See more
Featured in Face aux fantômes