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A list of 7 must-watch Auschwitz movies in honor of Next week when Auschwitz will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. In honor of the over 1.1 million men, women, and children who were murdered at Auschwitz during The Holocaust, I wanted to share with you 7 must-see Auschwitz movies.
#1. Sarah’s Key
We will start with Sarah’s Key that is a fictional movie based on a fictional best seller book. The movie never shows the horrors of Auschwitz but it does document how the Jews who were rounded up in France were sent to Auschwitz for extermination.
#2. La Rafle (French Language, English Subtitles)
Unlike Sarah’s Key, this French-language movie tells the true story of Jo Weisman, a young boy who was rounded up by French police with his parents and sisters in 1942. Again there were no actual Auschwitz scenes but Jo’s parents and sisters were murdered in Auschwitz with the other deportees (only 25 adults, of the 13,000 who boarded the train survived).
The movie is based on the non-fictional book, Après la rafle (After the Roundup).
#3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a fictional depiction of the Holocaust through the eyes of two young boys.
While it has received much criticism, I believe it is one of the better movies (and books) that can launch a conversation between adult and child about what happened during the Holocaust.
The fictional camp that David Thewlis‘ character works at is inspired by Auschwitz.
Recommended Reading: Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby
Inspired by a true story, Denial tells of Deborah Lipstadt‘s courtroom battle with Holocaust denier, David Irving. During research for the trial, Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) visits Auschwitz with her lawyer, Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson).
Amen tells the story of Kurt Gerstein, a Roman Catholic and German SS Officer who:
“design[ed] programs for the purification of water and the destruction of vermin. He is shocked to learn that the process he has developed to eradicate typhus, by using a hydrogen cyanide mixture called Zyklon B, is now being used for killing Jews and other “undesirables” in extermination camps.”
After seeing Zyklon B in action, Gerstein alerted officials in the Roman Catholic church and the Swiss embassy. Sadly his attempts to make any difference failed.
While inspired by the true story of Kurt Gerstein, the story is primarily fictional.
#6. Schindler’s List
Schindler’s List is perhaps one of the most famous Holocaust movies starring Liam Neeson in one of his finest roles opposite Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley.
While the majority of the action takes place at Płaszów concentration camp, there is a pivotal scene that occurs at Auschwitz when Schindler’s women were wrongly directed to Auschwitz instead of Schindler’s work camp.
#7. The Grey Zone
The film tells the story of the Jewish Sonderkommando XII in Auschwitz. These prisoners were in charge of shepherding the victims to the gas chambers and then disposing of their bodies in the ovens.
Two key storyline plots include the October 1944 insurrection and destruction of Crematorium IV.
The movie was based on the book Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli.
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How will you be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz next week?
The would like to see the Grey Zone and Amen! The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a favorite.
I have seen the boy in the stripped pyjamas and that is a very very sad film for sure
Wow didnt know about the travesty of Auschwitz. I need to watch one of the movies so I can understand.
Ive tried watching some of these. they are all awesome. will find time to watch the rest <3
Cha at Little MisadvenCHA
I love Sarah’s Key. Ive only read the book though. So sad.
Oh, I love Sarah’s Key. So sad. Only read the book though.
I have only seen one of these movies and loved it. I would really love to check these out.
Great list of movies. I’ve seen several of them because I love movies that entertain, educate and empower simultaneously. While scenes and content of the movies may be upsetting for some to watch, I think there’s no better way to teach history and to encourage young people to never ever let such atrocities happen again. I would have likes more detail in your article about each movie about key scenes and the impact on the viewer.
thanks for the helpful tips. i can definitely see how that would be useful in a future post.
oh nice list for my weekend, love films Inspired by a true story specially
Forgive me, but I can’t. I’ve seen images. Every Nazi and every collaborator deserved a slow, torturous death. What those people went through is heartbreaking. To know that such inhumanity existed on a cultural level in the 20th century and without significant opposition is horrifying. “Work Shall Set You Free.” Such a cruel joke…
This is a great list. I have only seen Boy in the Striped Pajamas before. I’ll have to check out some of them others.
No way, really! I can start with watching “Denial”, though!
I’d heard of a few of these, but most of them are new to me. Thanks for sharing–the titles all seem interesting.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Schindler’s List I’ve already seen. I’m interested in seeing the Grey Zone and Amen. They sound very compelling.
I have seen the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Such a sad movie. I’m wondering if these movies are something we should introduce to our children.
I have only seen Schindler’s list out of those movies. A very moving story. I think everyone should see it at least once. I will have to check out those others. I have seen Life is Beautiful as well, but I don’t think it centered on Auschwitz. Although it takes place during the Holocaust. Another great movie.