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The true story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian Jew chosen by Josef Mengele to be the head pathologist at Auschwitz. Nyiszli was one of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos - Special Squads of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating moral dilemma of helping to exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. Together, the Sonderkommandos struggled to organize the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. As the rebellion is about to commence, a group from the unit discovers a 14-year-old girl who has miraculously survived a gassing. A catalyst for their desperate attempt at personal redemption, the men become obsessed with saving this one child, even if doing so endangers the uprising which could save thousands. To what terrible lengths are we willing to go to save our own lives, and what in turn would we sacrifice to save the lives of others? Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I had a hard time getting to sleep after watching The Grey Zone. It is the darkest film I have ever seen. It is a stark contrast to Schindler's List in the fact that it is focused on the experience of the great majority of the people who were sent to the death camps and died. Nobody helped them. It is also raw in its presentation of the gas chambers, crematoria and the Sonderkommandos, Jews who volunteered to do the dirty work of processing the people who arrived at the camps and then their dead bodies afterwards in exchange for a few more months of life.
That takes nothing away from the extraordinary Schindler's List, as it is very important to show the deeds of people like Oskar Schindler. His story and the story of many others like him is also true. In my opinion watching both films makes for an effective portrayal of the Holocaust on film, and an exploration of the nature of evil and humanity.
Although the Grey Zone is a bleak story of utter human depravity, the darkness is not total. In an extraordinary turn of events that actually happened in October 1944, the very people who at first abandoned their morality to keep themselves alive threw the Nazis' deal back in their faces and sacrificed themselves, taking a part of the Auschwitz death factory with them. Their actions suggest that even though it flickers, the eternal flame that makes us greater than what we may appear to be is always present within.
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