A Painful Reminder – Evidence for All Mankind

This Granada TV documentary, first broadcast in 1985, shows never before seen footage taken by allied cameramen and film-maker Sidney Bernstein when they entered Nazi Concentration Camps in 1945.



Running time


Directed by

Brian Blake

Produced by

Steve Morrison & Sidney Bernstein

Distributed by

Granada TV/UK

This documentary incorporates the footage shot by Sidney Bernstein, head of the Allied Film Section of the Psychological Warfare Division, under wartime conditions, two or three days after the Allied troops liberated Belsen and other Nazi concentration camps. It depicts the unspeakable carnage of thousands of corpses being buried in large pits. The film was made as a record to show the German people what had been allowed in their country under Hitler. It was judged to be too harrowing for viewing at the time and was suppressed by the British government. In updated sequences, Bernstein describes the filming of these wartime atrocities and the assistance he received from Alfred Hitchcock. Survivors of the camps recount their hellish experiences.

Bernstein’s film of 1945 was indeed shelved, but only until 1985. In that year Granada TV and Sidney himself commissioned a documentary using the shelved footage from 1945. It included extensive footage from the forgotten rolls of film, and interviews with an army cameraman present at Belsen, a film editor who worked with Hitchcock, survivors of the concentration camp, and Bernstein himself. It was Sidney who insisted on the title A Painful Reminder. The film was transmitted in May 1985, on ITV, without any commercial breaks.

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