“NUREMBURG: Its Lesson For Today” – Rare Documentary Restored

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Schulberg Productions presents NUREMBERG, now playing at Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema in San Francisco, Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley, and Camera Cinemas in San Jose.  The documentary opens Friday, January 28th at Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.  Sandra Schulberg, daughter of the original filmmaker and producer of the restoration, will speak to audiences at select shows; Friday, January 21st: all showtimes (1:25, 3:25, 5:35, 7:45, 9:45) at Shattuck in Berkeley; Saturday, January 22nd: all showtimes (12:10, 2:30, 5:00, 7:10, 9:20) at Opera Plaza in San Francisco. Eric Stover of UC Berkeley Human Rights Center will join the Q&A at Shattuck on 1/21 after 7:45 pm show. A representative from the Goethe-Institut will join the Q&A at Opera Plaza on 1/22 following the 7:10 pm show.  Engagements are co-presented with UCB Human Rights Center and Goethe-Institut in San Francisco.

Commissioned by the U.S. War Department, NUREMBERG was written and directed in 1948 by Stuart Schulberg, a veteran of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Field Photographic Branch/War Crimes Unit that was charged in 1945 with locating Nazi film evidence to be shown in the courtroom at Nuremberg. The film shows how the international prosecutors built their case against the top Nazi war criminals using the Nazis’ own films and records. The trial established the basis for all subsequent trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Although widely shown in Germany as part of the Allied de-Nazification effort, NUREMBERG was suppressed in the U.S. for political reasons. As a result, the film was shelved and over the years the original picture negative and sound elements were lost or destroyed.

Justice Robert H. Jackson
Served as Chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg trial.
Photo, National Archives and Records Administration

In 2003, Stuart Schulberg’s children discovered numerous documents about the making of NUREMBERG and the controversy surrounding it in their mother’s apartment. A year later, daughter Sandra Schulberg began to inventory the documents and invited two Holocaust scholars to examine them: Ronny Loewy (of the Deutsches Filminstitut) and Raye Farr (Director, Steven Spielberg Film & Video Archive, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum).  It became clear they were extremely important and previously unknown. She began a five-year effort to assemble a team and raise the necessary funds to restore the film.

Nuremberg Trial audio technicians (left) recorded the whole Nuremberg trial from
November 20, 1945 — October 1, 1946. Only 25 hours were filmed.

Sandra Schulberg — Josh Waletzky

 Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky created a new 35mm negative and re-constructed the soundtrack using original sound from the trial. The Schulberg/Waletzky restoration allows audiences to hear Justice Robert H. Jackson’s famous opening and closing statements to the Tribunal, and the testimony of German defendants and their defense attorneys – all in their own voices – as well as bits from the English, Russian and French prosecutors.  Now, more than 60 years later, the newly restored film can be seen and properly heard for the first time. The film ends with Justice Jackson’s stirring words —”Let Nuremberg stand as a warning to all who plan and wage aggressive war “— words that leap the decades and make NUREMBERG startlingly contemporary.

Original poster for Nuremberg’s 1948 German release. (Schulberg Family Archive)
American actor Liev Schreiber – Narrator for the Nuremberg restoration. (Arcieri & Associates)

Navy Lt. Budd Schulberg, officer in the OSS Field Photo-War Crimes unit.
Supervised compilation of The Nazi Plan and Nazi Concentration Camps for presentation at Nuremberg trial.
(Schulberg Family Archive)

Stuart Schulberg — Pare Lorentz — Eric Pommer

Marine Corps Sgt. Stuart Schulberg, youngest member of the OSS Field Photo-War Crimes unit, later wrote and directed Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today. (Schulberg Family Archive)
The War Department’s film chief, Pare Lorentz (The River; The Plough That Broke the Plains) chose Stuart Schulberg to write and direct Nuremberg. (Dorothea Lange photo, 1936, courtesy IDA)
Eric Pommer (producer of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Blue Angel, Fire Over England), as chief of the Motion Picture Branch of U.S. Militiary Government, oversaw the completion of Nuremberg. (Schulberg Family Archive)

Click here to learn more about: The First Nuremberg Trial

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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