This wise, sober new documentary acts as a companion piece to another film, ‘German Concentration Camps Factual Survey’, which was largely composed of material shot at the end of the war by soldier-cameramen involved in liberating Nazi death camps in 1945 – but only very recently completed. The original footage – devastatingly intimate; familiar yet alien – still stops us in our tracks more than six decades later.
‘Night Will Fall’ adds interviews, including with former soldier Leonard Berney, one of the first Brits to enter Bergen-Belsen, and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a survivor of Auschwitz. Partly, this is a reminder of historical horrors, but it’s also a tale of censorship: despite the brief involvement of Alfred Hitchcock as a supervising director, the 1945 film was never completed for reasons of postwar diplomacy. Almost immediately, it wasn’t just Nazi war criminals who were keen to sweep the horrors of the Holocaust under the carpet of history.