Lest We Forget
Norman Krasna Collection
April 15 and 16, 1945
Narration begins before image. Introduces narrator, Norman Krasna, and the film crew, Capt. Ellis Carter and Lt. William Graf, from the Air Force Film Unit. Entrance to Buchenwald. Crowd of former inmates with a band playing. Inmates preparing food. CU of prisoners, some talking - narration lists different nationalities of Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Belgian, French, Norwegian, Czech, English and American. More shots of inmates cooking, looking out windows. Group shot of young male inmates, plus CU. Four year old prisoner The boy is Joseph Schleifstein, born 7 March 1941 in Poland. See Photo Archive #85913, #07230]. Dead bodies, laid out and piled. Several shots of starved inmates. Inmates loading bodies onto a cart. Two U.S. Army men surveying the camp. More CUs of starved inmates. Soup line feeding former inmates. Image of a loudspeaker used in the camp. Crowd of inmates. CU of a grateful inmate.
01:03:26 Demonstration of the hanging and subsequent beating with a club which inmates received. Panning of a pile of bodies outside crematorium with a brief shot inside. Landscape view of camp and crematorium. CU of a beaten body. Pile of burned corpses, ashes, twisted metal. Lime pit for disposing of bodies, CU of a leg. Pile of ashes/bones outside crematorium. Narration says it represents approximately 70 people. CU of inmate showing bloody mouth. Narration says he's an editor from Warsaw and was hit with a rifle butt.
01:05:04 Line of local Germans from Weimar walking into the camp. CUs of well-dressed locals walking, surveying camp. Women covering their mouths. Locals looking at human organs in jars on a table. CU of human organs, including half of a severed head rotated on a table. Local woman running with face covered, men and women walking. Display of tattoos on human skin. CU of several tattoos, with pencil pointing out male nipples. Lamp with shade made of human skin. Photograph of woman - narration says it is Ilse Koch, wife of the former camp commandant. CU display of two shrunken heads. Locals filing into camp, walking past pile of bodies with mouths/faces covered. Pile of corpses in the back of a truck. Locals surveying camp, starving inmates, dead bodies. Locals walking shocked through camp. CU of several men and one women, narration explains they are SS of different nationalities, and the wife of the local hangman. CU of beaten bodies/blood covering the ground. Shot of U.S. soldiers looking at bodies strewn on the ground. Several shots of different piles of bodies. CU of corpse, tattoo visible on arm. CU of two U.S. medical officers reactions.
01:10:27 Local German men filing into Dachau, looking at a large pile of corpses. CU of German men. Groups of local men pulling bodies from the pile, throwing them up onto wagons. CU of heads of corpses in the pile. Horses pulling wagons full of corpses down a road.
01:12:15 Interspersed shots of piles of corpses and starved inmates. Final shot of 5-6 naked, starved inmates walking away from the camera.
See stories RG-60.0001, RG-60.0003, RG-60.0135, and RG-60.2254 for similar (if not the same) color footage of the liberation of Buchenwald from NARA that is attributed to the US Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit (SFP 186).
See story RG-60.3065 for similar footage (if not the same) color footage of the liberation of Dachau from NARA that is attributed to the US Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit (342 USAF).
See donor file for a complete transcript of Norman Krasna's narration to this film, which was recorded in 1945.
This film, along with guests Norman Krasna and William Graf, appeared on television in March 1981 in a Simon Wiesenthal production called "A Time to Remember" hosted by Scott Gourlay.
Biography / History:
Norman Krasna (1909-1984) was an acclaimed Jewish American screenwriter, playwright, producer, and film director. He worked as a film and theatre critic in New York before heading to Hollywood to join Warner Bros. He served with the US Army Air Forces motion picture unit from 1943 to 1945 and returned to Los Angeles to continue his career as a freelance writer. Krasna earned several Academy Award screenwriting nominations, and won an Oscar for 1943's "Princess O'Rourke", which he proudly accepted in his Air Force uniform.
2010.8.1 Beth Krasna, the daughter of filmmaker Norman Krasna, donated an original 16mm kodachrome print of "Lest We Forget" to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in January 2010. As part of the United States Air Force Motion Picture Unit, Norman Krasna, Capt. Ellis Carter, and Lt. William Graf documented liberation of the camps on color film in April 1945. After the war, Mr. Krasna obtained the footage from an archival repository in the U.S. (possibly the National Archives and Records Administration), edited this film, and added narration. The film aired on television in March 1981 on a program sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
AIR FORCE (U.S.)
CONCENTRATION CAMPS (LIBERATION)
U.S. Army Air Force; Capt. Ellis Carter; Mainzer
16mm kodachrome color reversal print
16mm; Uncompressed QT; DigiBeta; ProRes 422; Betacam SP; DVD; H264
01:00:00 - 01:13:05
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Beth Krasna