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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?