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In the spring of 2002, filmmaker Joe Berlinger traveled to Vienna to witness the burial of the preserved brains of over 700 children killed at a Nazi "euthanasia" clinic. GRAY MATTER chronicles the filmmaker's personal journey as he searches for Dr. Heinrich Gross -- known as the "Austrian Dr. Mengele" -- who allegedly participated in these killings. Along the way Berlinger meets survivors of the clinic, as well as other remarkable individuals, who are confronting a nation that has only begun to grapple with its denial of this horrific legacy. Written by
In the spring of 2002, acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) traveled to Vienna to witness the burial of the preserved brains of over 700 handicapped children. The victims had been murdered in a "euthanasia" clinic as part of a Nazi eugenics program that many consider the opening act of the Holocaust.
GRAY MATTER chronicles the director's journey as he searches for Dr. Heinrich Gross (notoriously nicknamed "The Austrian Dr. Mengele"), who not only allegedly participated in these murders, but also continued to experiment on the children's remains for decades after the end of the war, while rising to prominence in Austrian society despite his past. Along the way, Berlinger meets clinic survivors and other remarkable voices who shed new light upon this shadowy legacy and the notion that now grapples with his own denial.
Why has it taken so long to bury these brains? Should science profit from knowledge gained from such immoral atrocities? If Dr. Gross is indeed responsible to these crimes, how has he evaded justice for so many years? The film also raises provocative questions about the nature of guilt, redemption ad denial, promoting the Village Voice to write: "As Berlinger walks among jarred brains one can't help musing on the enduring ability of the population to ignore atrocity, shift blame and spin convenient myth."
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