What to say if you liked it
A poignant elegy to the millions of Russians, Poles and Jews slaughtered in the notorious concentration camp.
What to say of you’re an ignorant prince of the realm
The Nazis? Who are they exactly? Sorry, no time to listen. I’m off to party!
What was good about it?
• The CGI reconstructions vividly recreated the Auschwitz in all its inglorious detail from the oppressively cramped “living” quarters to the sparse gas chambers.
• The stark documentary footage the Nazis filmed of their prisoners whether they were a Russian soldiers in a shallow pit squabbling for food cast to them by their captors, or Jews being marched off a train to be assessed for their suitability to be worked to death or summarily gassed.
• The accounts from former prisoners and Nazis of their experiences of the camp. While the former internees merely detailed their daily struggle to stay alive, their former tormentors are quizzed on the morality of their actions – the most remarkable answers this week came from a former Slovak soldier who still believed the Jews deserved their doom because “they didn’t want to work”, such was the persuasiveness of the Nazi propaganda against the Jews.
• The dramatic re-enactments of key Nazi meetings where figures such as Rudolf Hoss and Reinherd Heydrich concocted ever more sadistic ways of disposing of the Jews and Russians.
• The film of the Jewish residents shambling about the Lodz Ghetto, each with the emblem of the Star of David stuck on their backs to mark out their “deviancy”.
What was bad about it?
• It is a relentlessly bleak chronicle of the extermination of the Jews and how the Nazis saw in their victims so little humanity they devised increasingly efficient methods of killing them, where the serenity of Camp Commandant Rudolf Hoss’s mind was the primary concern rather than the prisoners dignity. The only wonder was that the Nazis bothered to bury their victims.