September 12, 2013
National Archives Hosts 7th Annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Sept. 26
Roger Cohen to introduce 10th anniversary screening of "Berga: Soldiers of Another War"
Washington, D.C. --- The Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film at the National Archives will present a special program and screening of the late Charles Guggenheim's film, Berga: Soldiers of Another War, on Thursday, September 26, at 7 p.m., in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW.
This event, the seventh annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Program, is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives.
In 2003, Charles Guggenheim's final film, Berga: Soldiers of Another War (85 minutes) first aired on public television. To commemorate this important film's 10th anniversary, the National Archives will screen this extraordinary story of 350 American soldiers, taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge, who were caught in the tragedy of the Holocaust and forced to work alongside slave laborers from Nazi concentration camps. Roger Cohen, writer for the New York Times and author of Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble, will introduce the screening. A book signing will follow the program.
This was a deeply personal story for Guggenheim, who served in World War II as a soldier in the 106th Infantry Division. Many of his comrades were among those captured by the Nazis and imprisoned at Berga, a satellite of the notorious concentration camp at Buchenwald where they suffered harrowing atrocities as slave laborers. Guggenheim escaped this fate; he had remained stateside with a debilitating infection during the final months of the war. He later tried to find a friend from this Division but learned he had died in captivity in a German salt mine. The salt mine turned out to be the slave labor camp at Berga, which Guggenheim confirmed in War Crimes Trial documents located at the National Archives. For this film, Guggenheim found 124 survivors and witnesses; 40 agreed to be interviewed.
Berga: Soldiers of Another War was the final work in Charles Guggenheim's long and distinguished career. He wrote and directed the film, and, because of his personal connection to the story, also narrated in the first person for the first and only time in his career.
While completing the film, Guggenheim faced a heroic battle of his own with terminal cancer and died six weeks after the film was finished.
To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at: http://www.archives.gov/calendar. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation for a public program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-357-5000 two weeks prior to the event. To contact the National Archives, please call 202 357-5000 or 1-86-NARA-NARA (TDD) 301-837-0482. National Archives Exhibit Hours are 10 AM-5:30 PM.
The Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film at the National Archives was established in 2004 in honor of the four-time Oscar®- winner and past president of the Foundation for the National Archives. The Center's mission is to advance public understanding of the process, challenges, and social impact of documentary filmmaking and to promote the education of young people and professionals. The Center is both a living legacy of an internationally acclaimed producer and director and an extension of America's premier resource for documentary film research.
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and online at www.archives.gov.
The Foundation for the National Archives is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country's heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America's records to people around the U.S. and the world. (www.archivesfoundation.org)
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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.