NEW YORK—The Museum of Jewish Heritage's current exhibit features an unusual collection of Holocaust footage -- unusual because it marks the first instance of Hollywood filmmakers working under commission from the US government. “Filming the Camps: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens: From Hollywood to Nuremberg" features special footage from the 3 directors that later served as evidence during the Nuremberg trials, a historic moment in the confluence of law, war, and documentary film.
“I thought it was appropriate, interesting, and new to have [Ford, Fuller and Stevens] in one story,” museum curator Christian Delage told the Huffington Post. "There was a connection between them." Delage's research uncovered collaborative moments and even friendship between the directors, all of whom were known for different styles of work -- Ford for his Westerns, Fuller for low-budget genre movies, and Stevens for Oscar-lauded epics such as "The Diary Of Anne Frank" and "A Place In The Sun."
The directors arrived in Germany with different charges. As a member of the Special Coverage Unit, or SPECOU, Stevens traveled with a team of 44 other directors and writers in Dachau on the request of President Eisenhower, to document the latter part of World War II. Ford headed up the Field Photographic Branch, filming for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency), and Fuller acted on his own, taking images in the village of Falkenau.
"For the first time in an exhibit about the liberation of the camps, you can simultaneously watch the footage -- unedited, and showing clearly the clapboards -- with the comments made on the spot or later on by those who made the filming," Delage said.
For a closer look at the exhibit and an exclusive interview with museum director, David Marwell, be sure to check out the video above.
“Filming The Camps” runs from now until Oct. 14 at The Museum Of Jewish Heritage. For more information about the events and screenings surrounding it, visit the exhibit's page at mjhnyc.org.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified John Ford, Samuel Fuller and George Stevens as members of the SPECOU. It has been edited to reflect that only Stevens was a SPECOU member.