William Yeingst
September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of Social History

"They happened to be there on September 11 and they tilted their camera up..."
Several objects that I'm very proud to have collected for the Smithsonian...if you recall there was a program broadcast on CBS about 9/11 that featured a film made by two French filmmakers, Jules and Gédéon Naudet, who were making a film about a rookie firefighter in New York. They happened to be there on September 11 and they tilted their camera up and caught the impact of the first aircraft.

They were with a man named Chief Joseph Pfeifer. They immediately hopped into the fire vehicles and sped toward the World Trade Center. Chief Pfeifer was the first chief on the scene, and immediately set up a command post inside the tower.

Jules Naudet kept filming the whole time and he captured some very rare footage of what it was like inside the tower following the impact of the aircraft. He remained there during the collapse of the first tower, recorded what it was like inside and then escaped along with Chief Pfeifer and other firemen and police officers, and were able to capture what life was like outside of the towers following the collapse.

The Naudet brothers agreed to donate their camera to the National Museum of American History, and the Fire Department of the City of New York has agreed to donate the bunker gear worn by Chief Pfeifer, Joseph Pfeifer, during that time inside the World Trade Center.