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September 17, 1993 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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NOW-Sept. 25

I MURIEL WETSMAN

661-3838

Film On Liberators
Labeled 'Flawed'

New York (JTA) — After a
five-month investigation,
public television station
WNET has concluded that
the black World War II bat-
talion featured in the Lib-
erators documentary did not
in fact liberate two concen-
tration camps, as described
in the film.
Station officials were
commended by veterans and
Jewish observers for conduc-
ting an honest and thorough
investigation.
Liberators: Fighting on
Two Fronts in World War II
was first broadcast on
WNET last November and
was praised by the Rev.
Jesse Jackson, New York
City Mayor David Dinkins
and Jewish leaders.
In the midst of heightened
racial tension in New York,
black and Jewish leaders ar-
ranged for a special viewing
of the film last December as
a means of bridging the gap
between the two com-
munities.
The film was nominated
for an Academy Award for
best documentary feature
but was pulled from televi-
sion in February as con-
troversy about the film
began to mount.
In its statement, WNET,
which helped produce the
film, said "The film's ac-
count of the liberation of
Dachau and Buchenwald
was seriously flawed.
"The 761st Tank Battalion
and the 183rd Engineer
Combat Battalion did not
liberate Buchenwald and
Dachau," though sometime
within the week following
April 11, 1945, when
Buchenwald was liberated,
members of the 183rd were
present and some may have
been present within 48
hours of liberation.
A "liberator" is defined by
the U.S. Army Center of
Military History as both the
first division to reach a camp
and any divisions that arriv-
ed at the same camp or camp
complex within 48 hours.
WNET's investigators did
substantiate the fact that
the 761st helped liberate
Gunskirchen Lager, a sub-
camp of Mauthausen, near
Lambach, Austria, but the
film made only passing ref-
erence to that incident.
There were also a
"substantial number of less
egregious errors, ranging
from inaccurate dates for

military events to the misat-
tribution of still photographs
and film footage of concen-
tration camps," according to
the team of investigators
hired by the television sta-
tion.
"Research for this docu-
mentary was not as diligent
and comprehensive as basic
documentary practice would
require," said the statement.
"All anybody has to do is
look at our history," said
Philip Latimer, president of
the 761st veterans' organ-
ization. "There is no men-
tion of Dachau or Buchen-
wald."
Public television will con-
tinue to withhold the film
from broadcast until the
documentary is corrected.
The creators and producers
of the Liberators, Nina
Rosenblum and William
Miles, were not available for
comment.
But in a statement, they
said that they stood by their

Ms. Rosenblum
angrily denounced
the film's critics as
Holocaust
revisionists, and
ascribed their
criticism to racism.

work, and called WNET's
withdrawal of the film
"censorship."
In a February interview in
the New Republic magazine,
Ms. Rosenblum angrily de-
nounced the film's critics as
Holocaust revisionists, and
ascribed their criticism to
racism.
"There's tremendous
racism in the Jewish com-
munity. How people who
have been through the Holo-
caust can be racist is com-
pletely incomprehensible. To
think that black people are
less, which is what most
Jewish people think, I can't
understand it," she told the
New Republic.
"Are we for truth or are we
not? That's the only answer I
have to a statement like
that," said the 761st's
Latimer.
Mr. Latimer said he was
listed by Ms. Rosenblum and

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