US forces liberated the Dachau concentration camp in Germany in April 1945. Here, survivors of the camp stand during the singing of "Hatikva" ("Hope") before Rabbi David Eichhoren, a US army chaplain, leads one of the first Jewish prayer services after liberation.
Shortly after the German occupation of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in April 1941, the Germans forced Jews to clear the rubble caused by the heavy bombardment of the city. This German newsreel footage shows Jews clearing some of the rubble. Most of the city's Jews were later arrested and interned in camps. The German army later shot the Jewish men in retaliation for Serb resistance; the Germans killed the Jewish women and children in gas vans. Only about 2,200 Jews of Belgrade returned to the city after the war.
Julius Streicher, Nazi leader and publisher of the antisemitic newspaper "Der Stuermer" (The Attacker), makes a speech accusing Jews of trying to control the world and living by the exploitation of non-Jews. According to Streicher, the only answer for Germany is to solve the "Jewish question."
Japanese pilots used the tactic of Kamikaze (suicidal) dive-bombing attacks on enemy warships in 1944 and 1945. The "USS Nevada," despite an escort and efforts to fight off a Kamikaze attack, sustained such a hit in early 1945 off the coast of Japan. The "USS Ticonderoga," a carrier, also sustained such a hit in early 1945 off Formosa (Taiwan). The impact of Kamikaze attacks decreased during the final months of the war in the Pacific, in part because of an improvement in Allied evasion tactics.
Upon arrival in the Auschwitz camp, victims were forced to hand over all their belongings. Inmates' belongings were routinely packed and shipped to Germany for distribution to civilians or use by German industry. The Auschwitz camp was liberated in January 1945. This Soviet military footage shows civilians and Soviet soldiers sifting through possessions of people deported to the Auschwitz killing center.
Soviet troops entered the Auschwitz camp in Poland on January 27, 1945. This Soviet military footage shows children who were liberated at Auschwitz by the Soviet army. During the camp's years of operation, many children in Auschwitz were subjected to medical experiments by Nazi physician Josef Mengele.
Soviet troops entered the Auschwitz killing center in January 1945 and liberated thousands of sick and exhausted prisoners. This Soviet military footage was filmed shortly after the camp was liberated. It shows Soviet doctors examining victims of sterilization, poisonous injection, and skin graft experiments.
After British soldiers liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, they forced the remaining SS guards to help bury the dead. Here, survivors of the camp taunt their former tormentors, who prepare to bury victims in a mass grave.
The US army filmed the weak and emaciated survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany to document Nazi crimes against humanity. This film was shot shortly after the liberation of the camp in April 1945.
The Dachau concentration camp, northwest of Munich, Germany, was the first regular concentration camp the Nazis established in 1933. About twelve years later, on April 29, 1945, US armed forces liberated the camp. There were about 30,000 starving prisoners in the camp at the time. Here, soldiers of the US Seventh Army document conditions in the camp. They also require German civilians to tour the camp and confront Nazi atrocities.
US forces under the command of General Omar Bradley reached the Ebensee forced-labor camp in Austria in early May 1945. The Germans had built Ebensee at the foot of the Austrian Alps as part of the Mauthausen system of camps. The Nazis employed Ebensee prisoners as forced laborers during the construction of an underground rocket factory. Thousands died from the harsh conditions and back-breaking labor.
In July 1944, Soviet forces liberated the Majdanek extermination camp. The Polish-Soviet Nazi Crimes Investigation Commission, established to document Nazi atrocities committed during the German occupation of Poland, ordered exhumations at Majdanek as part of its efforts to investigate Nazi mass killings in the camp. The commission later published its findings in Moscow on September 16, 1944, in Polish, Russian, English, and French.
The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform crushing labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945. In this footage, starving survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp eat soup and scramble for potatoes.
This film footage is excerpted from documentary film titled "Mauthausen Concentration Camp," showing footage from both Mauthausen and the nearby Gusen camp. Filmed by US cameramen, the footage opens with a broad view of buildings in the Gusen camp. Excerpts that follow show scenes in the camps, American care of the liberated prisoners, and Austrian civilians loading bodies of victims onto carts for burial.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and other American officers inspect conditions in the Ohrdruf concentration camp shortly after the liberation of the camp. As American forces had approached, SS camp guards shot the remaining prisoners before abandoning the camp. Confirmation of such atrocities prompted the US military to require Nazis and local German civilians to view the camps.
After Italy's armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the Italian army disintegrated. The country was divided between German forces holding the northern and central regions (including Rome) and Allied forces in the south. After nine months of bitter combat, Allied forces—specifically the US Fifth Army—liberated Rome in June 1944. This footage shows scenes of celebration as troops move through Rome. It ends with a prayer by Pius XII (pope, 1939–1958).
In June 1944, the Soviet Union launched a massive offensive against the German army in eastern Europe. Soviet forces liberated Vilna in July 1944, after bitter street fighting with the German garrison. They then continued on toward Kovno, the capital of Lithuania. This Soviet footage depicts the battle for Vilna and the final liberation of the city by the Soviet army.
The German army occupied Lodz, Poland, in September 1939. From early February 1940, Jews in Lodz were forced to move to a designated ghetto area, which was sealed on April 30, 1940. This German footage illustrates conditions during winter in the Lodz ghetto. Winter in the ghettos aggravated existing hardships, depleting already sparse supplies of food and fuel.
The Medical Case was one of 12 war crimes trials held before an American tribunal as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings. The trial dealt with doctors and nurses who had participated in the killing of physically and mentally impaired Germans and who had performed medical experiments on people imprisoned in concentration camps. Here, chief prosecutor Brigadier General Telford Taylor reads into evidence a July 1942 report detailing Nazi high-altitude experiments and outlines the prosecution's goals for the trial.
After word reached America of the Nazi killing of European Jewry, pressure mounted on the Roosevelt administration to help European Jews. To spur action, playwright Ben Hecht prepared a memorial to the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, "We Will Never Die." The pageant, sponsored by the Zionist Revisionist Bergson Group, was part of a mass demonstration at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Later seen in other US cities, the show was part of the Bergson Group's effort to pressure Washington to act decisively to rescue Europe's remaining Jews.
The German army occupied Krakow, Poland, in September 1939. In March 1941, the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in Krakow. In this footage, Polish Jews are forced to move into the Krakow ghetto. They wear the required armbands, used to distinguish the Jewish population from the rest of the city's residents. By late 1941, there were some 18,000 Jews imprisoned in the Krakow ghetto.
In 1936, Germany and Italy signed a military alliance. The two powers formed the so-called Berlin-Rome Axis. This footage shows Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini's state visit to Germany in September 1937. He met with Hitler in Munich and the two leaders also toured other parts of Germany. During the state visit, Mussolini attended a military parade in Berlin, Germany's capital. Although both dictators declared their desire for peace, Germany would begin World War II in 1939. Italy would then enter the war as Germany's ally against Britain and France.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the German city of Nuremberg was host to massive and lavish rallies for the Nazi Party. This film footage, produced by Julien Bryan in 1937, shows saluting crowds in the Nuremberg stadium watching groups parade past Adolf Hitler.
Soon after the Nazis assumed power in Germany, they launched a campaign to deprive Jews of their place in society. The effort began with an organized boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. Gangs arrested Jews, painted "Jews forbidden" onto shop windows, chanted antisemitic slogans, and blocked store entrances.
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