(Review originally written at 24 July 2010)

This actually being one of the first documentaries about the WW II concentration camps. It's also definitely one of the most straight-forward ones, which is the reason why this is still being regarded as one of the most powerful and best WW II documentaries out there.

It's just not the type of documentary that would be made this present day. It's a quite short one, which in this case works in its benefit and it's not one that features any interviews at all. It's purely one that shows images of the past and 'present'. The 'present' images of the concentration camps are shot in full color and gets combined with actually black & white footage, shot during the war era and some black & white photographs, which often form the most powerful part of the movie. Sometime the photographs really say much more than words, or also moving images in this case.

Another reason why this documentary would most likely not be made this present day is because of how incredibly straight-forward it is. You do not only see just death bodies and bones but also some extreme mutilations and severed heads, among other things.

It's also a documentary that got shot quite early after WW II, so it had only been years that the concentration camps had been used. This means that the movie its color footage still contains lots of stuff that shows how things looked and really were at the time. Now days lots of stuff got torn down, destroyed, or build up again in a different way, to make it more accessible for the public.

Its not really a documentary that tries to tell a story or get a point across. It doesn't provide much background information but that in this case doesn't mean that the movie is an interesting and intriguing one. I still got some things from this documentary that it didn't knew yet and it also provides some unique footage that I had never seen before. It's strange but I had never actually seen footage before of the concentration camps being build, for instance.

It's also good that this movie doesn't only concentrates on the the typical things, that the general public already knows. For instance it did not only show how Jewish people had to suffer in camps but for instance also homosexuals or political prisoners. People sort of always seem to forget it and look over this fact.

A powerful, straight-forward documentary that helps us not to forget.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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