German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

The history of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, told in the film Night Will Fall, is the foundation story of the creation of 3 Generations.



Running time

70 minutes

Directed by

Alfred Hitchcock et al

Produced by

Sidney Bernstein

Distributed by

3 Generations & Menemsha Films

“If you destroyed all the films except for this one, this is the film that has all the issues involved in cinema.” – Daniel Kasman, Mubi

“In April 1945 my father, Sidney Bernstein, was with the Allied Forces that liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. As a film advisor to the Ministry of Information, he was responsible for overseeing the film units as they documented the atrocities found there.” – Jane Wells, Founder and Executive Director of 3 Generations.

Sidney Bernstein was a filmmaker during World War Two, who worked for the British Army and later SHAEF (the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force). For five months in 1945 his orders were to film the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and to collect footage shot by the Allied Forces to create a documentary. The aim was that the film would provide evidence; it would show the German people what had been done in the name of Hitler and the Third Reich.

The story of what he and his colleagues witnessed, recorded and assembled has produced three films: German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (begun and then suppressed in 1945, finally released in 2014); A Painful Reminder (a partial telling of events released in 1985); and Night Will Fall (an Emmy award-winning contemporary documentary detailing why the original film was never shown, released by HBO in 2014).

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey has been painstakingly digitized and fully restored by the Imperial War Museums in London, who are the guardians of the footage and the archives. The restoration precisely follows the original script, notes and cameramen dope sheets from 1945. The quality of the restoration brings the 21st-century viewer face-to-face with startling documentary evidence of atrocity. Sequences depicting Adolf Hitler are striking in their clarity. He appears disquietingly revived; one can see the beads of sweat that drip down his face. The footage from the concentration camp––shot by skilled cameramen––is artful yet unsparing in its brutally accurate depiction of events. Alfred Hitchcock was careful to employ techniques that would refute accusations that the atrocities documented did not take place.

3 Generations is committed to keeping this footage and the truths it tells alive and available in the 21st century.

For more information about the film, visit the Imperial War Museum site.

Download the electronic press kit here.

Download History of GCCFS & 3 Generations deck here.



Produced by:Sidney L Bernstein
Production Supervisor:Sergei Nolbandov
Editor:Stewart McAllister
Peter Tanner
Treatment and Commentary:Colin Wills
Richard Crossman
Treatment Adviser:Alfred Hitchcock
Cameramen:Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Germany 1945
No. 5 Section, Army Film and Photographic Unit
Major Hugh Stewart MBE
Lieutenant Martyn Wilson MBE
Sergeant Harold Haywood
Sergeant Slim Hewitt MBE
Sergeant William Lawrie
Sergeant Michael Lewis
Sergeant Roy Parkinson


Restoration Producer:David Walsh
Restoration Director:Dr. Toby Haggith
Restoration Editor:George Smith
Narrator:Jasper Britton

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