Watch: Hitchcock's Forgotten Holocaust Doc 'Memory of the Camps'

January 14, 2014
Source: Open Culture

Alfred Hitchcock

While the iconic director Alfred Hitchcock is primarily known for being the master of suspense with classic films like Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, Psycho and Rear Window in his filmography, many have forgotten one project that was outside of his comfort zone in more ways than one. In 1984, a Hitchcock directed Holocaust documentary called Memory of the Camps was unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival and also on PBS. Now Open Culture (via The Playlist) has found the 53-minute cut of the dark documentary which has footage of Nazi concentration camps as seen by the British Army Film Unit in 1945.

Here's the 53-minute version of Hitchcock's Holocaust documentary Memory of the Camps:

Back in 1945, when Hitchcock reviewed the footage (at the request of friend Sidney Bernstein) from the British and Soviet units who captured the German forces despicable warfare on film, the director ended up leaving Pinewood Studios rather disturbed and didn't return for a week. At the time, the Allies hoped to use the film to force the German people to see their army's actions and confront the atrocities, but delays led to a reconsideration and five of the six reels ended up in London’s Imperial War Museum until they were shown in 1984, which means this is only an incomplete version of the documentary.

However, for film purists and cinephiles out there, there might be a better way to see the film in the future. Independent announced last week that the documentary will be re-released with a sixth reel to accompany the original five reels unearthed in 1984. In addition, a companion documentary called Night Will Fall (from producer André Singer (The Act of Killing) and directorial advisor Stephen Frears) about the film itself will focus on the film Hitchcock made with Sidney Bernstein and will accompany the film in subsequent screenings and airings. This restored and expanded feature will hit British television in early 2015 but there will be theatrical and festival screenings before then. Stay tuned for more.

Find more posts: Documentaries, To Watch



Why is it that all we ever get are specials, movies and editorials about the Nazi Holocaust. This has been going on non-stop for 70 years? Why haven't we gotten the same coverage of the Communist Holocaust, which is on-going and has victimized hundreds of millions more people than the Nazis with imprisonment, torture and murder? Could it be because the creators of Communism and perpetrators of its Holocaust only want to be known as innocent victims of cruelty, and are the same people who control Hollywood, the Media and Wall St.?

MEP1101 on Jan 14, 2014


You need to read more AND watch more documentaries. Jeeze, where have you been? The brilliance of this site's readers never fail to amaze me.

Chuckee Knowlton on Jan 14, 2014



Snowmanfloza on Jan 14, 2014


Yes, avoid Hitchcock. There just aren't enough superhero films yet to keep you happy are there?

Chuckee Knowlton on Jan 14, 2014


Hey first showing guys (Alex Ethan et al), did you watch the documentary? from the text in the article it sounds like maybe you didnt... This is extremely graphic real-life material, that I imagine many of your visitors wont have seen before. You mention cinephiles and purists but it seems inappropriate considering the nature of the film. One of the reasons I come to your site is that you also highlight documentaries and films about society and history and not just the latest mainstream fair, but I think you have a responsibility to explain to people that this footage is for ADULTS ONLY.

rep6 on Jan 14, 2014


It is NOT for adults only. It is history and we saw these films while I was in grade school. It's really too bad they don't show films like this in school anymore, if they did, perhaps we wouldn't have so many senseless wars and clueless people.

Chuckee Knowlton on Jan 14, 2014


when shown on PBS I would be amazed if it was not at a certain time at night and did not come with a warning before it explaining that the film contained real-life footage of an extremely distressing and graphic nature. I agree it very important to educate people about the holocaust and other historical events. I watched documentaries at school about these events but it did not contain this footage. When we watched Schindlers list the school sent a letter to every parent asking for there permission because the film was rated 15 and we were 14 its the law. There is a reason for the certification of films, children and teenagers could be traumatised by seeing scenes of sex, violence and yes real-life footage of an adult nature. Seeing hundreds of real life dead bodies is I believe in that category. That why I'd be surprised if ethan realised the nature of what he has put up on the website.

rep6 on Jan 15, 2014


You're right, PBS would likely HAVE to put a warning so that they aren't fined by the government. Lord knows you can let junior watch all the fake violence and T & A served up nightly on TV, film and video games, but for heaven's sake prepare them for reality. Please. If there are ANY young kids that frequent this site then I think they can handle a war doc. All kids should be made to watch this.

Chuckee Knowlton on Jan 15, 2014

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram