Biography / History:
Carl Henry Levy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 7, 1913 to a wealthy German Reform Jewish family. He attended a secular private college-preparatory school. During those years, he printed a magazine in his attic, was chief editor of his school newspaper, and was involved in a Jewish youth group. He was finishing undergraduate philosophy studies at Harvard just as Hitler rose to power in Germany. With his peers, he organized a demonstration against the rise of fascism and the arrival of German ships to the United States. He also led the North American Committee in Cincinnati to Aid Spanish Democracy during the years of the Spanish Civil War. He graduated from Harvard in 1934, Magna cum Laude. In 1941 he met and married Edith Entratter shortly before enlisting in the US Army. He served in Europe from July 1944 to September 1945, participating in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Ohrdruf concentration camp. Carl used the office typewriter from his desk job as Warrant Officer to write to Edith every day. After his return, he founded Lucky Stride Shoes and retired in 1960. Carl Henry died in New York City on August 24, 2001.
From May to July 1927, when Carl Henry Levy was 14 years old, he travelled to Europe with his family - father, August Levy (1875-1967); mother, Clara Levy (1890-); sister, Emilie Jane Levy Drooker (1924-) and her governess; and his brother, Robert (1918-). They were accompanied by close friends - Louis Hartman, a shoe manufacturer from Haverhill, Massachusetts, his wife Deborah (Dora), and their daughter Sarah (known as Sally, later as Sarah Gould). Carl filmed the trip with a camera he purchased a few days before leaving for Europe; it was his first camera. [Carl wrote in a travel journal on May 19, 1927 in New York prior to departing for France, "Tinkered around with my movie camera. I am in love with it to say the least."] Upon the family's return to Cincinnati, young Carl would screen the footage to family friends about 50 times over a period of 2-3 months. The repeated projection of the images in social occasions might explain some of the scratches on the film. Abrupt cuts are a result of Carl's novice talent or experimentation. A bit of lint gets caught in the camera near the end of the film.
Carl Henry's family visited his father's place of origin in Ingwiller in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. The area has alternated between French and German rule for hundreds of years. In 1870, the French lost the territory in a humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Under German rule and a policy of Germanization, which included the prohibition of speaking in French, the elimination of all French references, and other policies, many inhabitants of the area moved to France. Carl's father, August, moved to Cincinnati from Alsace in 1892 in order to escape the draft of the German army. The French desire to rule the Alsace-Lorraine region was a major mobilizing cause for French nationalism, and the French indeed regained control of the area after World War I, in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. When Carl's family visited Alsace, it was under French rule, and his father could freely show the family the places of his youth. In 1940, Hitler's troops occupied Alsace and regained German control of the region. Under Nazi control, the Jewish community captured in this footage would perish. In 1945, French and American troops regained the control of the region for France.
Carl Henry Levy
University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and Diana Henry
Uncompressed QT; ProRes 422 HQ (HD and SD); MP4
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Carl Henry Levy