A chilling “final report” by witnesses and perpetrators of World War II Nazi atrocities

Archived images of Hitler Youth from the documentary “Final Account”. (Focus Features)

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The “Final Account” is a chilling and essential documentary featuring unusual testimonies from a wide range of older Germans and Austrians who have witnessed or unknowingly participated in the Holocaust atrocities. This is one of the scariest times in history, a fascinating look, and explores the eternal questions of that era. “If you knew but didn’t say or do anything, were you the perpetrator?”

Writer / Director Luke Holland (“Good morning, Hitler”, “I was a slave worker”), Died of cancer last June at the age of 71He was Jewish and grew up unaware that his maternal grandparents had been killed in a concentration camp. Due to this long-hidden secret and the need to explore the history of his family, he decided to find and interview the old daily non-Jewish citizens when the Third Reich came to power. became. Inspired and shaped.

The Dutch theme of the 80’s and 90’s (most of which are now dead), which began shooting in 2008, is how cheerful and inevitably Hitler youth became (fun for some). Talking about having the air of a social club), taking pride in service, etc. As members of the SS and Wehrmacht (Nazi German military), and which Jews they hid on their farms Did you betray? Some of the speakers here were guards of the internment camps, while others were working on trains that carried Jews to these same camps. Many remember the horrifying smell of burning meat released from the crematorium.Others remember Crystal nightFateful overnight in 1938, the Nazi army destroyed hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish businesses.

Takeaways from many of these weekday observers: “Everyone tried to stay away from what happened and refuse to participate.” In other words, despite what they might have actually known. A large-scale incident of “not seeing evil, not speaking evil” for fear of Nazi retaliation. Still, for some, accomplices have certainly turned into guilt.

Then there are those who claim to be unaware of the hellish events guided or blinded by Nazi propaganda planes and patriotic enthusiasm. (The film also reminds us that the rise of Adolf Hitler happened during periods of high unemployment and inflation.) Similarities to recent history are, to say the least, disturbing.

However, it is rarely all “mea culpa” or “who knew”. Or “we just obeyed orders.” The Netherlands often hears questions from cameras, but keeps some witnesses charged with varying degrees of confessions and charges. I will. There is one former SS member who praised Hitler, saying “the idea was right” and suggesting that the Jews should not have been killed and that they were forced to leave the country instead. (He also proudly shows off his war medal.) Another interviewee claimed that the profits probably defeated his personal anger because the death camp was good for nearby business owners. To do. The third speaker does not believe that 6 million Jews were killed — and we know he is not alone.

Perhaps the most disturbing moments of the film unfold during a heated meeting between yet another former SS member and a group of teenage students. Employees of the former internment camp were scared of seeing and going during the Holocaust, but were not proud of their wartime actions, so they were assigned to a few right-wing students. came. One of the children seems to be more angry with Albanian immigrants than the Nazis. The rally will take place at the Wannsee House in Berlin, planned by Nazi leaders in 1942. “Final solution” The annihilation of European Jews is almost intolerable ironic.

Hollander interrupts the head interview of his story with vibrant archived photos and footage, as well as current inspiring shots of where much of the reported horror took place. The film sometimes felt a bit resting and might have benefited from digging deeper into the long life of his subject, but it is Recent research showsHas been given terribly incorrect information about the Holocaust or is completely unaware. It repeats forever: never forget..

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..