Berga: Soldiers of Another War (2002)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Military & War, Race & Ethnicity  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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During the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944, thousands of American GIs were captured by German forces. Berga: Soldiers of Another War, the final work in the distinguished career of four-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Charles Guggenheim, is the untold story of 350 American POWs caught in the tragedy of the Holocaust. In blatant violation of the Geneva Convention, the Jewish American soldiers in the 106th Infantry Division, together with those who had "Jewish-sounding" names or who "looked" Jewish, were shipped off to the slave-labor camp at Berga am Elster, a satellite camp of the infamous Buchenwald. There they were starved, mistreated, and forced to work alongside slave laborers from Nazi concentration camps. During the four months between their capture and their liberation, 20 percent of the POWS died of disease, malnutrition, and other causes. Charles Guggenheim had been a member of the 106th, but was stateside due to illness when his comrades were captured and mistreated. Nearly six decades later, Guggenheim interviewed survivors of the ordeal while filming on location in Berga, Germany. The result is this 90-minute documentary, completed a scant six weeks before Guggenheim's death of pancreatic cancer. The film made its American TV debut courtesy of PBS. Extra features available on DVD include David McCullough interviewing Charles Guggenheim, outtakes from the film, and selected works by the director.

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Keywords

Jewish, POW (Prisoner of War), war-atrocities, world-war, concentration-camp, Holocaust, labor-camp, capture, imprisonment, Nazi, battle [war], re-enactment