Tickets Sold Out For 'The Liberators'

Jackson to Introduce Film; Ogletree to Lead Panel

Tickets sold out yesterday for Monday's showing of "The Liberators," a controversial documentary about the role of Black soldiers in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson will introduce the film at Sanders Theatre on Monday evening and take part in a panel discussion on Black-Jewish relations following the movie.

While University administrators are promoting the showing of the film, some critics question the movie's historical accuracy. An article in The New Republic this week attacks the film, saying the profiled military units could not have performed the heroics depicted.

In the article, Jeffrey Goldberg, the New York bureau chief of The forward, a weekly Yiddish newspaper, cites the commanders of the 761 st Infantry Division and the 183rd Combat Engineer Battalion as saying their units were nowhere near Dachau and Buchenwald, camps which the filmmakers say the Black units helped liberate.

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps 111 said yesterday of the controversy over the film's accuracy," I don't think it's significant."


Assistant Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree Jr., who will moderate the panel discussion, said yesterday the details of the film are not as important as the dialogue it inspires.

The film should not serve as the focus of the forum but rather, he said, "as a point of departure for students."

"The film is not the most important thing," Ogletree said. "I think what's most important to students is to have a sense that there is a community with a high level of tolerance working to understand our unique characteristics."

The Harvard showing of "The Liberators" and the following discussion are sponsored by the Office of the President, the Afro-American Studies Department and the Office of the Dean of Students.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in a statement issued last fall, says there is certainly evidence that Black soldiers fought heroically at the Battle of the Bulge and were liberators in Euchenwald, Gunskirchen, and Dora-Mittelbau concentration camps, but that their direct involvement at Buchenwald or Dachau could not be confirmed or denied.

Veteran Paul Parks, a Black mine engineer whose unit visited Dachau after its liberation, said he has reason to doubt the film's veracity.

"People have a vision when they say this infantry division was on this front doing this," said Parks, who will be part of Monday's panel. "The truth is, they weren't all in the same place at the same time.

"The 761st tank battallion had five companies. They may have been 200 miles apart." Parks said. "I'm not ready to agree when some one white officer says they weren't there. I guarantee he would have had no way of knowing what they were doing."

Parks also said that even if Black units were not the first to enter Nazi concentration camps, they were essential in defeating the much greater threat--the German Army.

"If it hadn't been for the 761st, the Germans might have reached Parrs," Parks said.

Ogletree said he hopes that in the discussion, Jews and Blacks will not get too caught up in recent tensions to remember the history of cooperation the two groups have shared.

"They've had exceptionally good working relationships on problems of civil rights," said Ogletree, who plans a series of workshops on Block-Jewish relations. "Our hope is to rekindle that relationship and use the talents of both communities to meet our common goals."

Jackson asked Rudenstine if the film could be shown here when the two met last December during University negotiations with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, and Rudenstine agreed. Rudenstine said in an interview last week that he has not seen the film and was unaware of the controverts about its accuracy.

In mid December Jackson organized a much published showing of the film at Harlem's Apollo Theater to an audience of Blacks and Jews The event was later broadcast on public television.

Joining Jackson, Parks and Ogle tree on the panel will be Dobois Professor of the Humanities Henry Louis Gates Jr. chair of the Afro American Studies department. Rabbi Sally J. Finestone, acting director of Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel; and Zezette Larsen, a Holocaust survivor and vice chair of Facing History and Ourselves, a Holocaust education group.

Student panelists will be Alvin I Bragg Jr. '95, of the Black Students Association and Megan E. Jews '95 of Hillel