America’s Secret Nazis film receives international attention

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis tells the story of Jewish American veterans whose top-secret assignment during WWII was guarding a secret Nazi POW camp on American soil.

 A POSTER FOR ‘Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis.’  (photo credit: DANIEL SIVAN, MOR LOUSHY)
A POSTER FOR ‘Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis.’
(photo credit: DANIEL SIVAN, MOR LOUSHY)

It’s doubtful anyone in Israel was paying closer attention to Tuesday’s announcement of 2022 Academy Awards nominations than young filmmakers Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan. Both professional and personal partners going on 20 years, their latest collaboration Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis had received accolades and attention including designation on the short list for nomination to the Best Documentary Short Subject category.

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis tells the story of a group of Jewish American veterans, refugees of Nazi Germany, whose top-secret assignment during World War II was guarding a secret Nazi POW camp on American soil, outside Washington, DC. Dubbed PO Box 1142 to hide its location and purpose, it housed high-ranking Nazi scientists and officers either captured or recruited to defect to the American side as the course of the war turned against Nazi Germany. In 1946, after World War II had ended, the camp was bulldozed, and all records of its existence and mission were destroyed.

Loushy and Sivan both lost family members in the Holocaust and grew up with household survivor stories, but the making of Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis was an idea brought to them by Austrian Jewish film producers Benji and Jono Bergmann. The Bergmann brothers had discovered US National Park Service audio interviews of a few Jewish army veterans who had been assigned to staff the Northern Virgina prison camp. The camp is unlike any other. At the site, under the supervision of the US National Park Service, featured a swimming pool, tennis courts, a volleyball court and a theater so prisoners would feel more like members of an exclusive country club. Only 15 unclassified photographs exist from the camp, inspiring enterprising National Park Service employees to see if any former US army officials who were familiar with the camp were still alive and willing to share their personal experiences.

The Bergmanns found a handful of audio-taped interviews made by the Park Service in 2006 of former prison staff veterans, who had sat for interviews of their recollections, which comprises truly astounding stories of historical significance. They contacted Loushy and Sivan with their find who although exhausted from the making of Kings of Capitol Hill (a 2019 behind the scenes look at America’s pro-Israel lobby AIPAC) couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a documentary of the astounding story, which of course revealed moral questions, such as, do the ends justify the means.

In addition to the subject matter and historical significance, what makes Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis notable is the use of animation in several scenes because archival footage or still pictures did not exist. Loushy and Sivan added the talented Canadian Little Blackstone Studios to their team, deploying animation effectively and creatively in key segments of the short film. They recreated the story of Jewish refugees from Germany who were inducted into the US army, and ending up supervising and gathering intelligence from Nazi prisons of war, including the infamous Wernher Von Braun.

The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018.  (credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON/FILE PHOTO)The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON/FILE PHOTO)

One of the key pieces of intelligence gathered by unusual methods deployed at PO Box 1142 was the secret location of a Nazi rocket development and construction facility, which had been supervised by Von Braun. The V-1 and V-2 rockets had been developed, built and launched at the Peenemünde Army Research Center largely utilizing Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camp slave laborers. This intelligence was utilized in Allied bombing of Peenemünde, seriously setting back Nazi rocketry development.

Over the past decade and a half Loushy and Sivan have been more than prolific and successful producing and directing a number of high quality well-known documentary film projects: Oslo Diaries, The Devil Next Door, Dirty Tricks and Kings of Capitol Hill.

Film industry recognition of the quality of their work has earned Loushy and Sivan the backing and distribution of top film distributors, such as Netflix (Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis), Showtime (Dirty Tricks), HBO (Oslo Diaries) and backing of YES Documentary in Israel, among other international sponsors. As well, their films have won numerous accolades from renowned American film festivals including Telluride and Sundance.

While not quite making the final nomination, the recognition by Hollywood’s Academy Awards of their storytelling talent and creativity enhances their already glowing reputation.

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis is available to stream on Netflix.