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The Last Days (1998)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,562 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 42 critic

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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Title: The Last Days (1998)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bill Basch ...
Himself - Holocaust Survivor
Martin Basch ...
Himself - Son
Randolph Braham ...
Himself - Historian and Holocaust Survivor (as Dr. Randolph Braham)
Alice Lok Cahana ...
Herself - Holocaust Survivor
Michael Cahana ...
Himself - Son
Warren Dunn ...
Himself - US Army, Dachau
Bernard Firestone ...
Himself - Husband
Renee Firestone ...
Herself - Holocaust Survivor (as Renée Firestone)
Dario Gabbai ...
Himself - Sonderkommando, Birkenau
Tom Lantos ...
Himself - Holocaust Survivor
Katsugo Miho ...
Himself - US Army, Dachau
Hans Münch ...
Himself - Nazi Doctor, Auschwitz (as Dr. Hans Münch)
Paul Parks ...
Himself - US Army, Dachau (as Dr. Paul Parks)
Irene Zisblatt ...
Herself - Holocaust Survivor
Robin Zisblatt ...
Herself - Daughter
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for graphic images and descriptions of Holocaust atrocities | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

15 July 1999 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Az utolsó napok  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$20,492 (USA) (5 February 1999)

Gross:

$419,762 (USA) (23 April 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Bill Basch: 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Last Days of the Big Lie (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Czardas Princess Highlights Overture
Written by Emmerich Kálmán (as Emmerich Kalman)
(c)1957 Vox Productions Inc., New York
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User Reviews

 
A Powerful, Beautiful Tribute
19 February 1999 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to see this film at an advance screening hosted by the National Archive of Jewish Film at Brandeis University. This screening was full of professors and experts in the field of Holocaust study. Also present was one of the interviewees of the film.

This film effected me in ways that no other Holocaust documentary has. I have been learning about the Holocaust for many years, and I naïvely thought that I understood the magnitude of this disaster. What I realized during this movie was that no one can understand the experience of such a tragedy. Some of the most poignant moments were when the survivors walked through the camps with their children, recalling details along the way. Their children stood dutifully beside their parents the entire time, never understanding what their parents experienced.

The film bills itself as "the story of five remarkable people whose strength and will to live represent the extraordinary power of the human spirit." I don't feel that the movie followed this path, but took a different, much more intriguing journey. The audience left the theater understanding that the Holocaust is not something that can be summed up in a movie. Though the movie posed the question "why did it happen?" it never gives an answer. Instead, it shows that there is no way to reach a conclusion when one is faced with such a tragedy.


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