'Nuremberg’ film to be shown Wednesday in Grand Forks“Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today,” a U.S.-made film of the ground-breaking post World War II Nazi war crimes trials, will be shown Wednesday in Grand Forks with Sandra Schulberg, daughter of the film’s writer-director Stuart Schulberg, as a special guest.
This is a CORRECTED version of the original article.
“Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today,” a U.S.-made film of the ground-breaking post World War II Nazi war crimes trials, will be shown Wednesday in Grand Forks with Sandra Schulberg, daughter of the film’s writer-director Stuart Schulberg, as a special guest.
One of the greatest courtroom dramas in history, “Nuremberg” shows how the four allied prosecution teams, from the U.S., Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, built a case against top Nazi leaders, including Herman Goring, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer.
The film was shown extensively in Germany after the war, but the U.S. government prevented it from being shown in America for reasons that remain unclear. The restored film’s U.S. debut was in early October in New York City.
Its showing in Grand Forks came through a meeting earlier this year in Africa of Schulberg and Gregory Gordon, director for the UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies and a professor at the UND School of Law.
Schulberg and Gordon were at the International Criminal Court review conference in Kampala, Uganda, which also featured a showing of “Nuremberg: It’s Lessons for Today,” Gordon said. The film was a compelling overview of the trial, Gordon said, and a powerful reminder of why participants were at the ICC conference. Most thrilling of all for Gordon, the film was introduced by Benjamin Ferencz, one of the prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials, which began in November 1945 and ran through October 1946.
Gordon also had a chance to chat with Schulberg, who, as it turned out, had a North Dakota connection. In 1978, she was associate producer of “Northern Lights,” a movie shot in North Dakota about the establishment of the populist Non-Partisan League.
“Sandra said she would love it if the UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies could sponsor a showing of the film,” he said of their meeting. “She said she would come and introduce it and the Nuremberg film to UND and the Grand Forks community.”
On Wednesday, she’ll be in Grand Forks to make good on her promise. And, in addition to the 7 p.m. showing of “Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today” at Empire Arts Center, there will be a 2 p.m. showing Wednesday of “Northern Lights” at UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl. Both movies are free and open to the public.
The Wednesday showing of “Nuremberg” in Grand Forks coincides with the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, also know as the Night of Broken Glass, a series of attacks against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Jewish homes were ransacked as storm troopers and civilians destroyed shops, synagogues and villages, leaving streets littered with smashed glass. Ninety-one Jews were killed, and 30,000 Jewish men taken to concentration camps.
For Gordon, the message of “Nuremberg” is important in Grand Forks where Nazi symbols have been posted, occasionally and anonymously, in public places.
“We want to raise awareness of the evils of the swastika,” he said.
“Nuremberg: It’s Lessons for Today” was completed by a U.S. military team that included writer and director Stuart Schulberg, Sandra’s father. Andrew O’Hehir, writing for Salon.com, said its immediate purpose was to convince the defeated German people to blame the deranged criminal regime that led them into war, not the victorious Allies, for their desperate state.
For another, O’Hehir writes, “Nuremberg” introduced an explosive and controversial principal into international law, the idea that political, military and business leaders could be held personally liable for waging aggressive warfare and for crimes against humanity.
“It’s oddly gratifying,” O’Hehir writes, “to hear some of the accused men, including Hans Frank, the former Nazi governor of Poland and Hitler Youth head Baldur von Schirach, express some awareness of their guilt and some measure of repentance. But when you’re reminded of the enormity of the criminal regime they enthusiastically supported and worked for, their words fade in importance.”
“Nuremberg” is a restoration by Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletsky which preserves the original 1948 documentary, adding new subtitles and a narration by actor Live Schreiber. Ann Hornaday says in Going Out Guide online that the original filmmakers put together the Nazis’ own propaganda footage (some of it shot by Leni Riefenstahl), some postwar footage Stuart Schulberg himself filmed and the trial testimony.
“Viewers will be familiar with some of the most distressing images in ‘Nuremberg,’ but Schulberg and his team managed to uncover their own fresh hells,” Hornaday wrote, “such as a film depicting an early gas chamber, using a car with a long exhaust pipe leading into a small cabin. At the trial, the accused war criminals — 22 in all, including Hermann Goring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Albert Speer — looked alternately bored and disgusted, shielding their eyes from the movie lights with dark sunglasses.”
The New York Times review by A.O. Scott said “Nuremberg” makes viewers appreciate the scrupulous nature of the trials themselves, with their legalistic punctiliousness and deep moral passion.
“The guiding spirit of the Nuremberg trials is worth recalling now, in the midst of continuing argument about how to deal properly with enemies who show nothing but contempt for the norms of liberal society,” Scott wrote. “The Nuremberg answer was to hold onto those norms with a special tenacity, to afford the accused precisely the acknowledgement of humanity that they had denied their victims. That they were allowed to defend themselves also meant that they had, in front of the world, to choose whether to admit their depravity, lie about it or try to justify it.”
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Correction: The movie “Nuremberg: Its Lessons for Today” will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Empire Arts Center. And the film "Northern Lights' will be shown at 2 p.m., also on Wednesday, at UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl. An article and headline in Saturday’s Herald had the wrong date for the films.
Tuesday at the Empire will be the musical “Guys on Ice” at 7 p.m.