Filming the Camps, From Hollywood to Nuremberg
Viewable, February 16 - August 3, 2017.
The Nuremberg Trials in 1945 used an unprecedented form of evidence—film of the war and the liberation of concentration camps. The raw footage compiled into a documentary titled Nazi Concentration Camps, became crucial evidence, presenting the crimes the Nazis committed in an unflinching and authentic format to the court.
The exhibit, opening February 16, 2017, features the work of three filmmakers: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, and George Stevens. It explores the filmmakers’ experiences during and after World War II, the footage they captured of Nazi atrocities, and the impact the war had on their careers.
John Ford, director of films such as Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, and The Quiet Man, commanded the Field Photographic Branch and made propaganda films for the U.S. Navy Department. He won back-to-back Academy Awards during this time for his documentaries, The Battle of Midway and December 7th.
George Stevens, known before the war for light-hearted musicals featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II and headed a film unit under General Eisenhower. His unit shot footage documenting D-Day, the liberation of Paris, and horrific scenes of the infamous Dachau concentration camp. Following the war, Stevens’ films gravitated toward more serious subjects. He went on to direct the Academy-Award winning films Shane, Giant, and The Diary of Anne Frank.
Samuel Fuller served as a soldier in the 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed “The Big Red One.” He captured footage of the liberation of Falkenau, a sub-camp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, under the orders of his captain with a camera Fuller’s mother sent him. After the war, Fuller directed many films including The Big Red One, based on his wartime experiences.
In 1945, Ford created a documentary of the war incorporating Stevens’ images of Dachau. The film, shown first to American audiences, was evidence of Nazi crimes at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Ford also documented the Nuremberg Trials.
The exhibition contains film and photographs of World War II as well as clips from the filmmakers’ pre-war careers.
The exhibition, curated by historian and film director Christian Delage, was designed, created, and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France), and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.
This presentation is sponsored by Visit Dallas, Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France), the Consulate General of France in Houston, the Embassy of France in the United States, and SNCF, and is on view at the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance February 16—August 3, 2017.
George Stevens at Dachau, 1957
© Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California
Ford and his crew at Midway, 1942
© Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Samuel Fuller’s Bell & Howell Camera
© Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California, Coll. Christa Fuller