Films on the Holocaust

See also:  FILMS ON ANTI-SEMITISM

Schindler’s List

Docudrama 1993 R 193 minutes. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a greedy German factory owner made rich by exploiting cheap Jewish labor. But as World War II unfolds, he becomes an unlikely humanitarian, spending his entire fortune to help save 1,100 Jews from Auschwitz. Co-starring Ralph Fiennes, Steven Spielberg’s holocaust epic won seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and is an unforgettable testament to the possibility of human goodness. See Full Review

Link to see photos of the real people this story is based on.

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Docudrama 1959 NR 180 minutes. As the “Green Police” search for Jews on the streets of Amsterdam, a young girl named Anne (Millie Perkins), her parents Otto and Edith (Joseph Schildkraut and Gusti Huber) and another family retreat for two years to the small attic of shop owners Kraler and Miep (Douglas Spencer and Dody Heath). Despite being confined to a small area and having no contact with the outside world, the families go on with their lives to the best of their ability.

The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)

Docudrama Masterpiece Classic 2009 NR 100 minutes. In The Diary of Anne Frank, teenager Anne Frank tells, in her own words, how she and her Jewish family hid from the Nazis during World War II. As time drags on, they must balance the fear of their situation and “normal” family life. I was extremely touched by this BBC version of this story. This is an excellent rendition of the story of Anna Frank.

Escape From a Nazi Death Camp

Documentary 2014, 56 min. From PBS – The Nazi death camp at Sobibor was created solely for the mass extermination of Jews. But on October 14, 1943 the inmates fought back, in the biggest and most successful prison outbreak of the Second World War. Of the 600 inmates present on the day of the escape, 300 escaped. Around 50 survived the war and of that 50, only a handful are still alive. This is their last chance to reveal the true story of their escape.

Blessed Is the Match:
The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

Documentary 2008 NR 85 minutes.  Joan Allen narrates this riveting portrait of Hungarian poet Hannah Senesh, a remarkable woman who risked her own life to parachute behind enemy lines — enduring capture, torture and, ultimately, death — to try to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution. She had been living in Palestine for 5 years, and parachuted into Hungary with a group of Israelis to join up with partisans on the ground, liaison with Hungarian resistance — and for Hannah, to try and save her mother who was still in Hungary. They parachuted in on March 14 1944 and would have been able to ride transportation and make their way because in Hungary Jews could still move freely without yellow stars. But five days later on March 19 the Nazis invaded Hungary. Ahead of her time and on a mission of incredible odds, Senesh ultimately became a martyr in Israel, evoking the spirit of warrior-heroine Joan of Arc.

Nazi Hunters

Docudrama series 2010 NR 1 Season. Chronicling eight missions, this documentary series traces how determined agents captured some of the most evil criminals the world has ever known. I am so appreciative of people like Wiesenthal & the Klarsfelds. Nazi Hunters are inspiring heroes. I think their stories are important, because it shows what individuals can do, against all odds. Also a frightening look at how racist and antisemitic the Catholic Church really is. Their aiding and abetting Nazi mass murders defies every holy cannon they pretend to represent. It is a sobering hypocrisy. If you like these kind of justice films this is a series worth watching, offering several educational facts that are not widely known.

Inside The Nazi Hunters
(Nazi Hunters)

Documentary 2010 NR 1 Season. This series documents the work of Nazi hunters who chased down a few of the most hated individuals on earth, often employing controversial methods.  The dogged, sometimes shocking methods of real-life Nazi hunters are documented in searches for war criminals such as Adolf Eichmann and Klaus Barbie.

I Have Never Forgotten You

Documentary 2006 PG-13 105 minutes. Richard Trank’s documentary relays the remarkable story of architect turned Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. After losing nearly 90 family members in the Holocaust and surviving a death camp, Wiesenthal helped track down more than 1,000 war criminals.

Freedom is Not a Gift from Heaven:
The Century of Simon Wiesenthal

Documentary 1994 NR 60 minutes. A World War II concentration camp survivor who dedicated his life to bringing fugitive Nazi war criminals to justice, Simon Wiesenthal shares his fascinating life story in his own words and discusses his views on Europe’s modern neo-Nazi movement. Throughout the course of this biography, Wiesenthal travels to former concentration camp sites and German high schools, where he discusses his strong passion for justice.

The Lady in Number 6:
Music Saved My Life

Documentary 2013 NR 38m. Czech pianist and holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer describes how music enabled her to survive one of the darkest chapters in human history. Wow….all I can say is wow! What a profound and uplifting film! Alice shares her views on how to live a long happy life using the tools available to everyone: music, laughter, love and unrelenting optimism. This powerfully inspirational video tells not only her amazing story of survival but how, throughout her life, she was able to be strong by choosing to be happy, even during times of great loss. Alice is probably more full of life than anyone ever after living through so much. Alice’s friends are as inspiring as she is. Three women who not only survived Nazi death camps, but did so with a positive attitude. Quite a testament to the human spirit, and how it can survive even indescribable horrors. The emphasis is on the eldest of the three, a consummate musician who at 109 is still playing, and smiling. Never has a film of 38 minutes better reflected the human power of supreme optimism and joy amid such great adversity. What a touching and inspiring documentary. Absolutely beautiful! A true inspiration that we all should take lessons from. We can learn a lot about how to live our own lives with joy, fulfillment, mental fortitude, and positivity from listening to and learning from Alice. She could teach all of us with the beauty of her spirit. She certainly helped me put some things in perspective. A great lesson for all generations. Wise words and beautiful music. So sad to learn she died 2/23/14. An amazing life. Really makes you think about your own. This won the 2013 Oscar for Best Short Documentary. A must-see film. Do not miss this one. Watch it, that’s all I can say. Watch it and be amazed, touched and enlivened.

The Pianist

Docudrama 2002 R 150 minutes. Famed Polish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody, in an Oscar-winning role) struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this Roman Polanski-directed drama based on Szpilman’s memoirs. In spite of his well-known musical talents, Szpilman spends several years holed up in Warsaw, barely alive and subsisting on scraps, until grace comes in the form of a second chance — at music, at freedom and at life. Working from a fellow Pole’s true story, Roman Polanski–himself a Holocaust survivor.  Link to see photos of the real people this story is based on.

The Grey Zone

Docudrama 2001 R 1hr48m.  Based on actual events, this is the staggeringly powerful story of Auschwitz’s 12th Sonderkommando — one of 13 “special squads” of Jewish prisoners forced by the Nazis to help exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life.   This movie scared me. It was so realistically devastating. I have seen both Schindler’s List and The Pianist, but they were nothing compared to The Grey Zone. The Germans avoided the labor of extermination by using Jews to do the dirty work. This movie is their story. The cast is excellent — Harvey Keitel, David Arquette, and Mira Sorvino stand out.  Beware — the death in the internment camps is graphically shown. So this movie is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth seeing.  (It is based on the book Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account written by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli.  The title comes from a chapter in the book The Drowned and the Saved by Holocaust survivor Primo Levi.  In the film, the Sonderkomando were Jews who found themselves in a moral “grey zone” because they were forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz disposing of the bodies of their fellow Jews, along with the author of the book it is based on, a Jewish doctor who worked with Dr Mengele.  The grey zone was also literal, in that these workers were covered with grey ashes from burning bodies.)

The Last of the Unjust

Documentary 2013 PG-13. This dark documentary examines the history of Theresienstadt, the Nazis’ model ghetto created to counter rumors about mistreatment of interned Jews. Director Claude Lanzmann interviews Benjamin Murmelstein, one of the ghetto’s last living witnesses.

Goering’s Last Secret

Documentary 2011 TV-PG 49m.  This intriguing film reveals the amazing and relatively untold story of Albert Goering, the brother of Nazi Herman Goering. Despite his connections to the highest echelons of the Nazi Party, Albert was determinedly anti-Nazi.  A surprising footnote to Nazi history & the infamous Goering name. Albert saved Jews by cleverly using his brother’s name. Albert opposed the Nazis at every turn, yet was persecuted and prosecuted at Nuremberg. For all his good and brave acts, he died penniless, reviled and alone at age 71.

Sarah’s Key
(Elle s’Appelait Sarah)

2010 PG-13 111 minutes. Paris, 1942: To protect her brother from the police arresting Jewish families, a young girl hides him away, promising to come back for him. Sixty-seven years later, her story intertwines with that of an American journalist investigating the roundup. The film, based on the book and true events, tells the story of a journalist who, while researching this ugly moment, uncovers facts that will change her, and her family forever.

Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Süss
(Harlan: Im Schatten von Jud Süss)

Documentary 2008 NR 99 minutes. Documentarian Felix Moeller profiles one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious — yet largely forgotten — filmmakers in this penetrating biographical portrait of Veit Harlan, best known for directing the anti-Semitic 1940 propaganda film Jew Süss. Rare footage sheds light on Harlan’s method and motivations, but interviews with his descendents reveal conflicted emotions about his tainted cinematic legacy.

Defiance

Docudrama 2008 R 137 minutes. Based on an extraordinary true story, Defiance is an epic tale of family, honour, vengeance and salvation in World War II. The year is 1941 and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands.

The Hidden Child

Documentary 2007 NR 60 minutes. In this moving documentary, Holocaust survivor Maud Dahme shares her experiences as one of the Netherlands’ thousands of “hidden children,” young Jews whose lives were saved by secretly living with Christian families. Separated from her parents at the age of 6, Dahme was sent away with her younger sister, Rita, to be raised by compassionate strangers, first on a farm in the Dutch countryside and later in a remote fishing village.

Nietzsche and the Nazis

Documentary 2006 PG 165 minutes.  Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party drew upon the works of famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to justify their World War II atrocities and quest for power. In this documentary, professor Stephen Hicks explores Nietzsche’s teachings and determines whether the Nazis correctly interpreted their meaning. History buffs and philosophy enthusiasts alike will appreciate the thorough examination Hicks conducts of this controversial topic.

Auschwitz:
Inside the Nazi State

Documentary 2005 TV-PG Season 1 DVD. This six-part documentary series tackles one of World War II’s — and history’s — most disquieting and repugnant subjects: the Holocaust and its infamous killing factory, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

A Film Unfinished

Documentary 2010 R 90 minutes. This potent documentary uses a long-lost film reel to illustrate how the Nazis controlled images of Jewish life during World War II. Though the Nazis made a propaganda movie of contented Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, the missing spool exposes the truth. Director Yael Hersonski shows how the imagery was staged to distort historical knowledge and, with the aid of Jewish survivors’ testimony, chronicles the horrifying reality of ghetto life.

Forgiving Dr. Mengele

Documentary 2006 NR 1hr19.  Eva Mozes Kor, who was subjected to Mengele’s horrifying genetic experiments during the Holocaust, returns to Auschwitz on a quest to heal her wounds.

Holocaust: Theresienstadt

Documentary 2005 NR 72 minutes. This feature of footage from World War II, delves into Theresienstadt, a “show camp” the Nazis used to mask their true intentions for the Jews they’d begun arresting throughout Europe. Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet (English: Terezin: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area) was a black-and-white projected Nazi propaganda film shot in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt. In the summer of 1944, the Nazi government had perpetrated a hoax against the Danish Red Cross by taking them on a tour of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the occupied Czech Republic. They “beautified” and cleaned the camp prior to arrival and arranged cultural activities to give the appearance of a happy, industrious community. To cover up the endemic overpopulation of the camp, numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of the Red Cross delegation. The gimmick was so successful that SS commander Hans Günther attempted to expand on it by having Kurt Gerron, a Jewish actor-director, make a short film about the camp to assure audiences that the inmates kept there were not being abused. In return, the Nazis promised that he would live. Shooting took 11 days, starting September 1, 1944. Shortly after Gerron finished shooting the film, however, both he and other cast members were “evacuated” to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival. The film was intended to be shown in neutral countries to counter Allied news reports about the persecution of Jews. Influential organisations such as the International Red Cross and the Vatican would be given screenings. However, the progress of the war in late 1944 to early 1945 made that impossible. After an initial screening in early April 1945 to senior members of the government and SS, there were a few other screenings to international humanitarian groups in Theresienstadt in April 1945. Further distribution was halted by the defeat of Germany. The film was mostly destroyed, but about 20 minutes of sequences from it have survived.

Imaginary Witness:
Hollywood and the Holocaust

Documentary 2004 NR 1hr 32m. A filmmaker examines Hollywood’s depiction of the Holocaust and its incomprehensible atrocities in this award-winning documentary.

The Couple
(The Aryan Couple)

Drama 2004 NR 120 minutes. Martin Landau heads the cast as Joseph Krauzenberg, an affluent Jewish industrialist who agrees to surrender all of his vast material wealth to the Nazis in return for his family’s safe passage out of German-occupied Hungary. But Krauzenberg’s decision puts his most loyal servants, the Vassmans (Kenny Doughty and Caroline Carver), in jeopardy. Judy Parfitt plays Landau’s stately wife in this somber World War II drama directed by John Daly.

Out of the Ashes

Docudrama 2003 R 113 minutes. Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who survives Auschwitz. Decades later, she applies for U.S. citizenship when she becomes accused of colluding with the Nazis. As Perl struggles to explain the circumstances, her judge and jury are three INS investigators (Bruce Davison, Richard Crenna and Beau Bridges) who must decide her fate.

The Statement

Thriller Docudrama 2003 R 120 minutes.  During World War II, Frenchman Pierre Brossard’s Nazi sympathizing led to the deaths of 14 Jews. Years later, it’s his turn to be the prey when a Nazi hunter, the police, and hired killers pick up his trail.  This is a very interesting movie, loosely based on a true story.  Michael Caine gives another brilliant performance. His character is a fascinating one of a pious man, devout Catholic, and cold-blooded Nazi war criminal. Caine downplays his considerable charm and natural humor, instead giving us a vivid portrait of a conflicted and disturbed man. As a thoroughly contemptible hypocrite, Caine flees both justice for the killing of seven Jews, and a mysterious conspiracy of assassins chasing him. Half of Caine’s character is that of a pious, even pathetic old man, facing persecution and striving to stay in a state of grace with the Catholic Church. In a flash, the other half is revealed as an arrogant, homicidal schemer.  Only Caine could have knitted the two together in such a fascinating way.  This is a well-crafted suspenseful thriller.  It is also is a good history lesson.  It doesn’t spare the Vichy government of France, nor the Catholic Church.  I highly recommend.

Amen.

Docudrama 2002 NR 2hr11m.  A Nazi official reaches out to the Vatican when learns that a process he developed to wipe out typhus is being used to exterminate the Jews.
See Full Review

Bonhoeffer

Documentary 2003 NR 90 minutes.  This poignant documentary traces the life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was one of the first to speak up against Adolph Hitler throughout Hitler’s rise to power. Bonhoeffer organized the Confessing Church, the only structured revolt against Hitler, and turned to his roots as a devout Christian for the strength to take a political stand for Jews everywhere.

Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace

Docudrama 2000 UR 90 minutes.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Ulrich Tukur) pays the ultimate price for speaking out against the Nazi party in this dramatization of the German Lutheran minister’s life. The clergyman actively opposes Hitler’s regime, heroically condemning its atrocities. On many occasions, he has the opportunity to keep his peace and save his own life, but he stands by his moral convictions and is eventually hanged by the Nazis one month before the end of the war.

Hanged on a Twisted Cross:
The Life, Convictions and Martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Documentary 1996 UR.  Ed Asner narrates this documentary about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who condemned the atrocities of the Nazi party and was executed just days before the end of World War II. Rare archival footage, documents and footage of original locations paint a portrait of Bonhoeffer’s life and times. The program examines questions still very relevant today, such as how a man of peace can accept the use of violence in order to combat evil.

Varian’s War

Docudrama 2001 NR 120 minutes. Based on a true story, this made-for-cable drama stars William Hurt as Varian Fry, a mild-mannered humanitarian whose determined efforts helped more than 2,000 Jews — including many intellectuals, artists and writers — escape from Vichy France. Nicely rounding out the cast are Lynn Redgrave, Alan Arkin and Julia Ormond as the incisive Miriam Davenport, who conspires with Fry to lead the group to safety.

Into the Arms of Strangers
Stories of the Kindertransport

Documentary 2000 PG 117 minutes. Filmmaker Mark Jonathan Harris’s Oscar-winning documentary tells the story of an underground railroad — the Kindertransport — that saved the lives of more than 10,000 Jewish children at the dawn of World War II. Through interviews and archival footage, the survivors movingly recount being taken from their families and sent to live with strangers in the relative safety of England. Judi Dench narrates.

All My Loved Ones

Docudrama 1999 UR. Director Matej Minac’s debut feature relates the trials and tribulations faced by a Czech-Jewish family during World War II. It’s also the real-life story of Nicholas Winton, a righteous gentile who saved hundreds of Jewish children from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Moments of pure horror are balanced with heroic acts in this gripping saga of one ordinary man who took extraordinary risks.

Photographer

Documentary 1998 NR. The photographs of Walter Genewein are presented and discussed in this engaging documentary. Genewein was the chief accountant for the Nazi party during World War II and documented many of the atrocities that occurred in slave labor camps. The harrowing pictures are made even more disturbing by the ghostly narration from Holocaust survivor Dr. Arnold Mostowicz, who recollects his experiences at the hands of Hitler disciples such as Genewein.

The Nazis
A Warning from History

Documentary 1997 NR 2 discs. Through archival footage and interviews with those who survived Adolph Hitler’s reign — including unrepentant Nazis — this comprehensive documentary series sheds new light on the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. Chapters reveal how the Nazi state compelled ordinary people to commit atrocities, the order and disorder within the German army, and Hitler’s propensity for getting his minions to do his work, among other enlightening facts.

Life is Beautiful
(La vita è bella)

Drama 1997 PG-131 hr 56m.  A Jewish Italian waiter named Guido is sent to a Nazi concentration camp, along with his wife and their young son. Refusing to give up hope, Guido tries to protect his son’s innocence by pretending that their imprisonment is an elaborate game.

The Island on Bird Street

Docudrama 1997 PG-13 102 minutes. Amidst the Nazi occupation of Poland, 11-year old Alex is separated from his family and finds shelter in an abandoned house. Kept company by a mouse and comforted by his father’s promise to find him, Alex finds strength by reading Robinson Crusoe. Based on a true story.

The Truce
(La Tregua)

Docudrama 1996 R 1hr 57m. Auschwitz survivors are taken to a transition camp where they recover from their ordeal, rebuilding their strength for the long journey home. This movie is based on the life of Primo Levi, an Italian Jew who spent the latter half year or year of the war in Auschwitz.

America and the Holocaust

Documentary American Experience 1994 NR 90 minutes. Hal Linden narrates this documentary about America’s response to the Holocaust prior to entering World War II. The film examines the overlying social and political factors and follows the story of Kurt Klein, who fled Nazi Germany only to find that the United States didn’t care what happened to his parents. The State Department stalled the visa process for thousands of Jews until 1944, when Henry Morgenthau forced Roosevelt to reverse the policy.  This documentary is a firm reminder of how slanted and overtly racist US immigration policy has been since it’s inception. Similar themes of job loss, cultural preservation, and national security that are used today in reaction to Mexican immigration were evoked against Jews and eastern Europeans then.  Very eye-opening. I knew the US turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, but I never realized the extent.  I believe every citizen should see this movie to open their eyes to the anti-semitism broiling in this country to the point that millions of Jews died as a result. The message of the movie was that we could have helped and should have before we finally did.

The Eye of Vichy

Documentary 1993 NR 110 minutes.  Directed by French filmmaker Claude Chabrol, this documentary examines Nazi and Vichy newsreels and propaganda films from World War II meant to turn the French against the Jews and the Allied Forces and into Nazi sympathizers. Chabrol deftly probes how the media was used to manipulate the French, and asks how history’s outcome could have been different had the enemies succeeded.

The Nasty Girl

Docudrama Satire 1990 PG-13 94 minutes. German high schooler Sonya (Lena Stolze) decides to write an essay about her town’s history during the Third Reich and its heroic resistance to Nazi tyranny. To her (and the town’s) dismay, she instead uncovers evidence of collaboration with the regime. As she digs deeper, she must struggle against the vocal and violent opposition to her search for the truth. This provocative satire won a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language.

Hotel Terminus

Documentary 1988 NR 267 minutes. Nazi Gestapo leader Klaus Barbie excelled at torture, earning him the epithet “the Butcher of Lyons.” Through a series of interviews, this powerful Oscar-winning documentary explores the life of the infamous war criminal, beginning with his childhood and moving on to his career as an SS interrogator. After the war, Barbie spent 40 years in hiding, was eventually deported from Bolivia and, in 1987, stood trial for crimes against humanity.

Au Revoir Les Enfants

Docudrama 1987 PG 101 minutes. As World War II rages on, two students at a boarding school — the French-Catholic Julien Quintin (Gaspard Manesse) and the Jewish Jean Bonnet (Raphael Fejto) — form an unlikely friendship in director Louis Malle’s powerfully moving drama based on events from his own life. Although the boys begin as adversaries, they soon find common ground, especially when it becomes clear that Jean is merely trying to survive the tyranny of the Nazis.

Shoah

Documentary 1985 NR 4 discs. Director Claude Lanzmann’s devastating Holocaust documentary sheds light on one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind. With more than nine hours of footage, the film relies solely on testimony from survivors, witnesses and perpetrators. Eschewing archival footage, Lanzmann interviews each subject — many at length — beginning with Simon Srebnik, one of only two Jews who survived the Chelmno death camp.

The Search for Mengele

Documentary 1985 NR 78 minutes.  Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, whose shocking experiments on Auschwitz prisoners made him one of the most wanted war criminals of the 20th century, spent the rest of his life fleeing authorities. His long flight is recounted in this riveting documentary. Through interviews with those who knew Mengele — both during his early years and during his worldwide fugitive spree — director Brian Moser constructs a complex portrait of a man and his deeds.

The Scarlet and the Black  (1983)

Docudrama 1983 NR 156 mins.  This riveting drama is based on the true-life story of Vatican priest Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (Gregory Peck), who helped allied P.O.W.s escape from Nazi-occupied Rome. O’Flaherty challenged Nazi officers and his Vatican superiors to save the lives of Jews during World War II. With German soldiers controlling Rome, O’Flaherty made a determined effort to hide and shuttle to safety as many Jews from the city as possible.

Sophie’s Choice

Drama 1982 R 151 minutes.  Aspiring author Stingo (Peter MacNicol) shares a Brooklyn boarding house with winsome Polish émigré Sophie (Meryl Streep) and her mercurial lover, Nathan (Kevin Kline) — a union unsettled by Nathan’s violent behavior and Sophie’s disturbing recollections of her wartime experience. Stingo uncovers the truth about Sophie, however, when her accounts of her stint at a Nazi concentration camp unravel, laying bare the real source of her torment.

The Hiding Place

Docudrama 1975 PG 145 minutes. In World War II-era Holland, Corrie ten Boom (Jeannette Clift, in a Golden Globe-nominated role) and her family of Christian watchmakers are quietly sheltering Jews in their small house. But when the Nazis discover the family’s secret, it could mean certain death for everyone. Based on a true story, this gripping drama follows Corrie and her sister (Julie Harris) as they endure the horrors of a concentration camp and a true test of their faith.

The World at War — Disc 10

Documentary 1974 NR 11 discs. Disc 10 includes the following segments: “The Final Solution: Part 1” and “The Final Solution: Part 2.” Many regard this 26-hour British TV documentary from 1973 as television’s greatest and most comprehensive account of World War II — a stirring history that features interviews with Allied and Axis leaders, civilians, officers, politicians and more. Narrated by the great Laurence Olivier, this 30th-anniversary collection also features eight hours of bonus documentaries, including Disc 10 with the following segments: “The Final Solution: Part 1” and “The Final Solution: Part 2.”

The Sorrow and the Pity
(Le Chagrin et la pitié)

Documentary 1972 PG 121 minutes. Directed by Marcel Ophüls, this Oscar-nominated documentary looks at life in Nazi-occupied France, shattering the fable of a unified and universal resistance movement under the Vichy regime in World War II. A tableau of archival footage, newsreels, clips from the anti-Semitic 1940 drama Jew Süss and an extensive assortment of interviews, the film paints an illuminating portrait of French complicity in the Holocaust.

Garden of the Finzi Continis

Docudrama 1970 R. In director Vittorio De Sica’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, an aristocratic Italian Jewish family retreats behind the walls of its lush country estate to take refuge from the approaching fascist storm in the 1930s. Meanwhile, daughter Micòl (Dominique Sanda) rebuffs the advances of Giorgio (Lino Capolicchio), a friend who’s joined them at the estate. Helmut Berger co-stars in this moving drama, based on Giorgio Bassani’s semiautobiographical novel.

The Shop on Main Street

Drama 1965 UR 125 minutes. An inept Czech peasant is torn between greed and guilt when the corrupt, Nazi-backed bosses of his small town appoint him “Aryan controller” of an old Jewish widow’s button shop in this drama that earned an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Filmed near the height of Soviet oppression in the former Czechoslovakia, humor and tragedy fuse in this scathing exploration of one cowardly man complicity in the horrors of a totalitarian regime.

The Wannsee Conference

Docudrama 1987 85 min. A chilling re-creation of the 1942 meeting at which mem­bers of the Nazi Party, the SS, and the German bureaucracy planned the systematic extermination of 11 million Jews. Most disturbing is the totally matter-of-fact manner in which the Holocaust is discussed and planned.

Night and Fog
(Nuit et Brouillard)

Documentary 1955 NR 31 minutes. Employing haunting images, such as a hill of human hair or a pyramid of shoes, director Alain Resnais contrasts 1955 footage of Auschwitz’s quiet, empty buildings with black-and-white footage shot there in 1944. This landmark documentary — one of the first cinematic reflections on the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust — is as lyrical as it is graphic, and has influenced contemporary movies such as Schindler’s List.

Paper Clips

Documentary 2004 G 82 minutes. Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee is the setting for this documentary about an extraordinary experiment in Holocaust education. Struggling to grasp the concept of 6 million Holocaust victims, the students decide to collect 6 million paper clips.

Korkoro

Docudrama 2009 NR 1hr 47m.  Based on the real-life experiences of a Gypsy family living in Nazi-occupied France, this poignant drama explores the broader definition of freedom through the eyes of characters who see permanency as punishment.See Full Review

HITLER’S PROPAGANDA FILMS

Holocaust: Theresienstadt

Documentary 2005 NR 72 minutes. This feature of footage from World War II, delves into Theresienstadt, a “show camp” the Nazis used to mask their true intentions for the Jews they’d begun arresting throughout Europe. Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet (English: Terezin: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area) was a black-and-white projected Nazi propaganda film shot in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt. In the summer of 1944, the Nazi government had perpetrated a hoax against the Danish Red Cross by taking them on a tour of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the occupied Czech Republic. They “beautified” and cleaned the camp prior to arrival and arranged cultural activities to give the appearance of a happy, industrious community. To cover up the endemic overpopulation of the camp, numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of the Red Cross delegation. The gimmick was so successful that SS commander Hans Günther attempted to expand on it by having Kurt Gerron, a Jewish actor-director, make a short film about the camp to assure audiences that the inmates kept there were not being abused. In return, the Nazis promised that he would live. Shooting took 11 days, starting September 1, 1944. Shortly after Gerron finished shooting the film, however, both he and other cast members were “evacuated” to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival. The film was intended to be shown in neutral countries to counter Allied news reports about the persecution of Jews. Influential organisations such as the International Red Cross and the Vatican would be given screenings. However, the progress of the war in late 1944 to early 1945 made that impossible. After an initial screening in early April 1945 to senior members of the government and SS, there were a few other screenings to international humanitarian groups in Theresienstadt in April 1945. Further distribution was halted by the defeat of Germany. The film was mostly destroyed, but about 20 minutes of sequences from it have survived.

Harlan:
In the Shadow of Jew Süss

Documentary 2008 NR 99 minutes.  Documentarian Felix Moeller profiles one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious — yet largely forgotten — filmmakers in this penetrating biographical portrait of Veit Harlan, best known for directing the anti-Semitic 1940 propaganda film Jew Süss. Rare footage sheds light on Harlan’s method and motivations, but interviews with his descendents reveal conflicted emotions about his tainted cinematic legacy.

The Eternal Jew
(Der ewige Jude)

Propaganda 1940. The Eternal Jew (1940) is an antisemitic German Nazi propaganda film, presented as a documentary. It has been characterized as “surely the most hideous success of the anti-Semitic films” made during the Nazi era. The film’s title in German is Der ewige Jude, the German term for the character of the “Wandering Jew” in medieval folklore. The film consists of feature and documentary footage combined with materials filmed shortly after the Nazi occupation of Poland. At this time Poland’s Jewish population was about three million, roughly ten percent of the total population.

Link to view The Eternal Jew
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlHVin56U2w

Triumph of the Will

Documentary 1934 NR 120 minutes. Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous propaganda film documenting the Third Reich’s 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally features a cast of thousands — including Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering and other top officials. Images of cheering crowds, precision marching, military bands, banners lining Nuremberg’s streets and Hitler’s climactic speech illustrate with chilling clarity how Germany fell under his spell.

The Eye of Vichy

Documentary 1993 NR 110 minutes.  Directed by French filmmaker Claude Chabrol, this documentary examines Nazi and Vichy newsreels and propaganda films from World War II meant to turn the French against the Jews and the Allied Forces and into Nazi sympathizers. Chabrol deftly probes how the media was used to manipulate the French, and asks how history’s outcome could have been different had the enemies succeeded.

See also:  FILMS ON ANTI-SEMITISM

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