Documentary recommendation “The Nazis: A Warning from History”
No matter how extensively you’ve read, or the number of other documentaries you may have seen, I think this documentary is something you will gain much from viewing. My review/recommendation:
For years I have read of and viewed materials regarding Hitler and Nazi Germany. Books have included The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and others. Videos over the years have been numerous with several in my personal library.
However, approximately a year ago, I first viewed and was deeply impressed with an exceedingly interesting documentary.
This weekend I again viewed this excellent 2-dvd set, and more than any other film I’ve ever viewed on this topic, The Nazis – A Warning from History , is by far the best.
No matter how much you may have studied the rise to power and atrocities of the Nazis or of Hitler himself, I think you will find this documentary covers and explores facets of this sad part of history you have never heard or at least not with the detail provided here.
In addition to archival footage I’ve not seen in previous documentaries, one of the most powerful parts of this film are the first person testimonials from those who worked with/around Hitler who share what he was like when out of the public eye, members of the Nazi Party, SS, and most importantly and what I wish many Americans would have the opportunity to view: interviews with people who were participants to differing degrees, some whom to this day rationalize and condone their support of Hitler, including in this documentary discussion of personal commission of murders. To listen to their stories of the murder of innocent civilians (as in Lithuanian & Polish massacres), to hear someone discuss how they shot men, women and children, to see lack of any apparent expression of remorse or repentance for coldblooded murder is striking. Others dismiss gain they received from the plight of those imprisoned in the ghettos. Such complete dis-attachment to humanity is rarely seen but these interviews with those who committed or accepted such atrocities are a harrowing warning. Whether perpetrators of persecution, witnesses, or victims – the personal interviews make this documentary extraordinary.
Civilian participants in the persecution of Jews and others, apathetic acceptance of the horrors going on around them, exploitation of their plight for personal gain, and as I mentioned even to the extent of those who murdered fellow citizens or exploited their situation in occupied territories, is casually discussed when sentiments and attitudes of (and I paraphrase): “It was the thing to do,” “You just go with it because everybody else is” or “What could you do?”
Poignant interviews with victims of persecution throughout those years are included…very sad.
The growth of the Nazi Party is fascinating to examine. Massive debt, inflation, and suffering of the people all set the stage for the people to look toward someone who promised a return to economic prosperity. The appeal to national pride in view of the turmoil the German people had endured for so many years became increasingly popular. The power Hitler gained was not taken but given him by a people who wanted to believe that their nation was being “saved” by this man and his vision was one they could share.
Non-conformists, those who were unconventional, were reported as suspicious in what was called “denunciation” by fellow neighbors and citizens. Institutionalized murder, sanctioned by the society, began in the acceptance of the murder of retarded children. After that, more and more human beings were deemed exterminable.
And another most interesting point I learned was that the image of a meticulous, efficient, methodical organization was far from the reality of the way the Nazi Party operated. The reality of the disorganization and bitter infighting was most interesting.
The Nazis did not simply impose their evil; they were of the people. To view and listen to those many civilians who knowingly not only supported the evil which was being committed but when they could – participated – is a chilling realization on the heart of man. Often, it is not that people are morally beyond commission of evil, but only refrain from it because it is not socially acceptable to espouse certain hatred. But once hatred of a particular people becomes acceptable, it is more than just not ignored, it releases the inhibitions for committing such evil amongst people who would consider themselves civilized and even god-fearing. This social acceptance of hatred makes great evil possible.
One man could never have accomplished what Hitler did without massive support. Tyrannical government doesn’t occur overnight, it develops gradually. It is allowed to happen. It can be lauded, enthusiastically embraced, and heralded as hope by the masses.
This is a most comprehensive documentary examination of the political rise of Hitler and the Third Reich, and how “ordinary” citizens condoned and collaborated with the evil.There is so much more in this very well made documentary.
Again, I emphasize this 2-dvd disc set is by far the best documentary (being the most informative, detailed account of those years) I have ever seen. Organized into 6 parts (approx. 45 minutes each, with a total of about 5 hours in length), I watched it over two nights. I highly recommend it. No matter how extensively you’ve read, or the number of other documentaries you may have seen, I think this documentary is something you will gain much from viewing.
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