Who voiced the ‘harangue’ in the German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, 1945-2014?
by Dr Toby Haggith
When the Allied armies liberated the German concentration camps, they often organised summary acts of justice, retribution and re-education to confront the German people with the crimes of the Nazi regime and to make them aware of their shared responsibility for these crimes. A particularly powerful example took place at Bergen-Belsen on 24 April 1945, when six ‘Burgermeisters’ (mayors and local government officials) from the area were forced to visit the camp. During the visit they attended a mass burial while a British officer read a 1,000 word speech – known as the ‘German harangue’ – condemning the SS and the whole German people for the crimes committed at the camp. This scene was filmed and forms one of the most powerful moments in the recently completed and restored British documentary, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (1945/2014).
Dr Toby Haggith, Restoration Director of the film at IWM, will show the scene and describe the work to identify the author and the voice of the harangue.