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 ... See full summary »
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Steven Spielberg and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation present interviews with survivors of the Nazi death camps in Hungary. Their tragic testimonies are illustrated through newsreels from the era and archival photos.
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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Haunting, depressing and hard to watch documentary from director James Moll has five Hungarian Jews talking about their time before, during and after being placed in concentration camps at the end of WWII as Hitler was in the last days of murdering as many people as he could. THE LAST DAYS picked up the Best Documentary Oscar and there's no question that it's a very powerful movie, perfectly put together to show the horrors of these camps. Through the interviews and archival footage, most people will probably want to avoid this film simply because of how graphic the photos are and there's no question that it's incredibly depressing. Yes, there's a bit a hope thrown in for the inspiration to survive but this really doesn't take away the haunting images that we're shown. There are several times throughout the film that the five people break down crying while telling their stories and it really makes you wonder what it would be like having to go through life with these graphic images constantly in your head. Seeing people shot, burned to death, melt down into skeletons and worse is just something that no one should have to go through life witnessing and then having to live with. Another interesting segment deals with the eventual rescue by the American troops. We get to see some interviews with those troops and hearing their stories of being shocked were also very heartbreaking. I thought director Moll did a terrific job at taking all the stories and editing them together just as if the story was being told by one person. THE LAST DAYS isn't an easy film to watch as some of the images are just horrible but for history buffs it's a must see.
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