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Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories: before March, 1944, when Nazis began to exterminate Hungarian Jews, months in concentration camps, and visiting childhood homes more than 50 years later. An historian, a Sonderkommando, a doctor who experimented on Auschwitz prisoners, and US soldiers who were part of the liberation in April, 1945, also comment. Most telling are details: Renée packing her bathing suit, Irene swallowing the diamonds her mother gave her to buy bread, Alice's memorial for her sister Klara, Bill escaping police by jumping into a line of Jews going to Buchenwald, and Tom told by a US soldier to have "all the damn bananas and oranges you can eat." Written by
There is one thing that has troubled me and has troubled the world, that the Germans dedicated man-power and trains and trucks and energy toward the destruction of the Jews to the last day. Had they stopped 6 months before the end of the war and dedicated that energy towards strengthening themselves, they may have carried on the war in London, but it was more important to them to kill the Jew than in winning the war.
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"The Last Days" is an exceptional film where five Hungarian Holocaust survivors tell their stories of their lives under the Nazis. Unlike other documentaries, these Jews did not experience any of this persecution until their country was annexed by the Germans in 1944. Their stories begin in 1944 and they recount the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. Additionally, corroborating accounts from American soldiers and a German doctor working at Auschwitz were included as well as lots of archival photos and film. In many ways, this film is like going to a Holocaust center and listening to accounts of the survivors.
Despite this film being very well made and quite moving, it's a case of preaching to the choir. In other words, those who are not insane or stupid and acknowledge that the Germans slaughtered millions will watch this film and appreciate it. Others probably won't watch it or else they'll dismiss the film as propaganda or an exaggeration or a conspiracy. Frankly, there isn't much you can do with this group. In the future, after successive generations have come and gone, this film will prove invaluable as a record of the Nazi horrors. But, since it only consists of five subjects, the film is naturally incomplete. Other films, such as "Shoah" and "Night and Fog" help to provide a more thorough story and are all worth seeing--but are also very draining. These are all exceptional films--just be sure you have some Kleenex handy as you watch.
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