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Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (The Schulberg/Waletzky Restoration)

2009 (The original production, with the German title: Nürnberg und seine Lehre was completed in 1948.)
Distributed by New Day Films
Original produced by Pare Lorentz and Stuart Schulberg; Restoration by Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky
Directed by Stuart Schulberg
DVD , b&w, 78 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Criminal Justice, Jewish Holocaust, World War II, History


Reviewed by Gary D. Byrd, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Health Sciences Library

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 7/18/2014

This excellent restoration (with the original English-language narration and with a 1080 p, high definition transfer and stereo soundtrack on the Blu-Ray version) makes widely available for the first time this historically important official US Army Signal Corps and War Department film documenting the proceedings and evidence presented at the 1945-46 International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, more commonly known as the Nuremberg Trial. The film can also be obtained from the distributor in versions with the narration translated with subtitles into 12 other languages. Although the German-language version was widely shown in the Western Zones of Germany in 1948 and 1949 and although top officials at the US War Department had intended for it to be seen in the US and the rest of the world, the original film negative was eventually lost or destroyed after those same officials later decided to suppress its US release.

An accompanying 128-page viewers/teachers guide booklet, “Filmmakers for the Prosecution”, written and edited with nearly 150 black & white and color photos by Sandra Schulberg (the original film director’s daughter and co-producer of this restoration), provides a detailed history and analysis of the international and US domestic political maneuverings leading up to the decision to suppress the original film’s further distribution. The booklet also includes: 1) the Conspiracy, Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity indictments against each of the 24 Nazi defendants; 2) the challenges of the original filmmakers before, during and after the trial; 3) the research process and technical processing strategies used for this restoration and for collecting the other Nuremberg archive materials included with the film; 4) a 13-page, annotated analysis of “iIlegal Armed Force as a Crime Against Humanity” by Benjamin B. Ferencz, a still-living Hungarian-born American lawyer who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial; 5) six pages of detailed credits for all aspects of the film restoration; and 6) a ten-page bibliography of books, articles and archives consulted as well as acknowledgements of other still-living participants in the Nuremberg Trial who were consulted and interviewed.

In addition to the booklet, the “archive-in-a-box” film package includes: 1) a DVD version of the 78-minute restored film, accompanied with four filmed eyewitness accounts of Nazi atrocities (72 minutes total) and three Nuremberg legacy interviews with current experts discussing aspects of the Trial’s influence on criminal law (49 minutes); 2) a BluRay version that, in addition to the same filmed interviews on the DVD, includes four additional eyewitness accounts (29 minutes), three additional legacy interviews (30 minutes), and eight historical films (produced between 1945 and 1947) ranging between 11 and 194 minutes in length (over nine hours altogether); and 3) a printed version (3rd edition) of the International Criminal Justice Timeline created by Gregory S. Gordon to accompany the film. This timeline details 500 years of war-crime milestones, including documents and events from 1474 to 2012.

Anyone wishing to do serious historical research on the Nuremberg Trial and its legacy must now consider this film, and the additional archive materials distributed with it, essential viewing and reading. This is a unique and extremely valuable addition to our resources for understanding the Trial and its continuing influence on international criminal law. In addition to the film’s value for serious scholars, the film and many of the additional archival materials included with it will also serve as valuable resources for high school, college and university teachers and professors of history, law, ethics and human behavior. General teenage and adult viewers interested in the Jewish Holocaust and World War II will also find this film fascinating to watch, and many will undoubtedly also want to explore the additional archive resources distributed with the film.

Awards

  • 2010 Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Legacy Award
  • 2013 National Media Market, Best of Show