By Hannah Chetkowski
During the 48th New York Film Festival at the Lincoln Center, a restored version of a documentary about the Nuremberg trials, titled “Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today” was premiered for the first time in the United States last month. Prior to this, the original film had never officially been shown in the U.S. or in any other country other than Germany. Currently, the original version of the documentary can be viewed on Youtube.
The film was created to show German citizens the crimes committed by Nazis that took place during World War II. The film was meant to show audiences what happened, what has been done to repair the damages made by Nazi forces, and what is being done in order to prevent such tragedies in the future by examining the Nuremberg trials. It was financed by the United States government in 1948 and was written and directed by Stuart Schulberg. He died in 1979, and in 2009 the film was translated into English and re-launched by his daughter Sandra Schulberg.
“It has been a very long trip to the movie screen,” Schulberg said.
After the film premiered at the Walter Reade Theatre, there was a brief panel discussion. Along with Schulberg, there were three other speakers on the panel: Benjamin Ferencz, one of the original Nuremberg prosecutors; Aryeh Neier, President of the Open Society Institute; and Emilio DiPalma, an Allied soldier who served as a guard at the Nuremberg trials.
During the panel Schulberg spoke of her concerns in re-launching the film. “We thought long and hard about whether to resurrect this film before working on it,” Schulberg said. “It took almost five years of work to get it to this point. I was haunted by the fear that showing the film again might be interpreted as just another nail in the Nazi coffin.”
When asked of his opinion of the film and its impact, Ferencz stated, “The film is entitled “Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today.” It seems we have forgotten Nuremburg today.”
Emilio DiPalma, a resident of upstate New York, spoke about his hatred towards the Nazi’s and how it felt being an American soldier during the trial. “There was a love hate relationship there,” said DiPalma, referring to the feelings between Allied soldiers and the Nazi defendants. “I was an 18 year old draftee when I first got to Nuremberg and I hated every one of them. I had seen my friends killed unnecessarily. That would have never happened if they hadn’t started this mess.”
The film received a standing ovation at the premiere. The film will be shown at a variety of other festivals and events, including a showing in Berlin and another premiere in Mexico. “Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today” will also be playing in Boston on January 28, 2011 at the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema. For those interested, the original film can be found on Youtube in seven parts, the first of which is located here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTsTzOhklDk