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Auschwitz: Inside The Nazi State

Samuel West , Linda Ellerbee    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 37.48 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Auschwitz: Inside The Nazi State + The Nazis: A Warning From History + BBC History of World War II
Price For All Three: CDN$ 165.59


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More than any previous documentary about the Holocaust, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State reveals the inner workings of the Nazi implementation of Hitler's infamous "final solution." Drawing on the latest academic discoveries, this remarkable BBC series presents a wide-ranging, meticulously researched biography of the titular "killing factory" and its evolution into a highly efficient location for industrialized extermination of well over one million Jews, gypsies, and other so-called "mongrel races" between 1940 and 1945. From "Surprising Beginnings" to "Liberation & Revenge," the six-chapter program chronicles the gradual process that escalated into the Holocaust, focusing its expansive European timeline on the detailed movements of preeminent (and highly corruptible) Holocaust engineers like Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Höss, and "death doctor" Josef Mengele. Through painstakingly authentic reenactments of crucial meetings including the Wannsee Conference (where the "final solution" was secretly devised), we see and hear the Nazi thought processes, built on virulent hatred and bigotry, that "justified" mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

Subtle but exacting use of computer-animated effects allows three-dimensional exploration of newly discovered architectural plans and buildings long-ago destroyed, revealing the transformation of Auschwitz as World War II progressed. Along with rare archival footage, thorough documentation, and frank testimony from Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators (not all of them penitent about their crimes), these programs make expert use of commanding narration by Oscar®-winning actress Linda Hunt, who brings depth and gravitas to a grim litany of sobering facts and figures. The result is an all-encompassing portrait of Auschwitz unlike anything seen before, masterfully written and produced by Laurence Rees with equal parts tenacity, intelligence, and integrity, informed by an overriding sense of moral outrage that is entirely appropriate to the history being examined. It's a remarkable achievement, as important as Shoah as a definitive exploration of one of the darkest chapters in human history. --Jeff Shannon


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State Oct. 23 2009
Format:DVD
After watching this documentary, I was appalled at what the Nazis were capable of doing to these people who did nothing to deserve such treatment because of one man's hatred towards them. It is a very well made documentary, it is very well narrated by Linda Hunt and it gives you an insight of what these people had to endure and go through to survive not just the war but to also be able to say I survived Auschwitz. At it's peak, this camp killed and destroyed over 1 million people and not just Jews but from all walks of life, homosexuals, gypsies, physically handicapped, the old and especially the children. During one interview with a SS Guard, he tells us how they did not feel anything killing children because they were brainwashed into thinking at the moment "The children do not hurt us now but they will later on in life because of the blood coursing through their veins".

But not all Nazis were evil like that. In one episode, one nazi is asked to make a decision on who gets to live and who gets to die, since he cannot bring himself to make a huge decision like that he hides them all and brings them to safety.

The truth one learns by watching this film is beyond belief. At the end of the documentary, please watch the dialogue for all 6 episodes. The one with the students (which is the last one) is the most touching because there is proof that good does win over evil and these children are open minded and want to learn what happened during these terrible years so we never see this kind of cruelty against another human being being done ever again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thorough Accounting of a Very Wicked Place Oct. 1 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Once again, the BBC has done another spectacular job on producing a DVD series on WW II that looks at another facet of this conflict from the Axis perspective. First, it was "The Nazis" series, back in the nineties, based on the research of Sir Ian Kershaw, an eminent British authority on Hitler, that looked at how this ruling party contributed significantly to the rapid demise of the Third Reich. Now we have this series that examines the German war effort as it relates to its program of mass extermination in the main camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1941-45. In this five-hour-long special assessment of the Final Solution, as it re-enacts the daily administration of this notorious death camp, the viewers see the Holocaust unfold before their very eyes. Everything gets covered here from the running of the camp by Hoess and his SS henchmen to the orders coming down from Himmler and Frank to the horrid conditions that inmates suffered to logistics of running this evil operation. The dramatizations of key moments when Auschwitz changed from a basic internment camp to a death factory and times when life among the personnel appeared normal are very realistic. Additionally, the testimonies of numerous Jewish survivors are very effectively included in the running commentary. What I learned from watching this presentation is that the Final Solution became the outcome of a state that had long lost its moral compass when it came to pursuing total war. Led by the SS, this program of mass extermination grew into something so unimaginably wicked because Nazi culture promoted the need to treat its enemies ruthlessly in order to promote the myth of the Aryan super-race. Jews, Slavs and Gypsies were the first of its victims, and it only remained for technology to come up with a speedier way to complete the job. Linda Hunt's even-tone voice, as narrator, provides the right touch of solemnity to this hard-to-believe shameful history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Documentary Oct. 10 2010
Format:DVD
One can always expect the very best from the BBC and this is no exception. The history of the Final Solution phase of the Nazi Holocaust, depicting the most infamous of the death camps. Episodes take you from beginning to end showing factual and disturbing details. Stirring introduction and music, with eloquent narration by Linda Hunt. Reconstructions of key events were played by actors in major Nazi hierarchical roles. Horst-Günter Marx, is excellent as Rudolph Höss. The dialogue is in German (nb. subtitles are added!) which boosts depth and realism to each scene. Combined with real interviews from parties of all sides; ex-prisoners, old Schutzstaffel (SS) members and witnesses, evidencing a great deal of research and creativity.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
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"Of the 7,000 members of the SS [protection squadron] who worked at Auschwitz and who survived the war, fewer than 800 were ever put on trial. Nearly 90% of those involved were never prosecuted...There are those who deny the reality of what took place here...1,300,000 people were sent to Auschwitz during the 4 1/2 years of its existence. 1,100,000 of them died here. Hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and other minorities were murdered. 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war; 21,000 gypsies; 70,000 polish prisoners; and 1,000,000 Jews, at least 200,000 of them children."

The above comes at the end of this chilling documentary film series. It presents the story of Auschwitz or technically Auschwitz-Birkenau, a German Nazi concentration camp established in 1940. It was a network of 45 concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich (or Nazi Germany) in Polish area annexed by Nazi Germany during World War 2.

This series (titled in the UK as "Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'") uses primarily four elements:

(1) rarely seen archival film (mostly black and white)
(2) nearly 100 interviews with survivors and former guards (many speaking out for the first time)
(3) computer-generated reconstructions of buildings now demolished (the architectural plans for these buildings only became available in the 1990s)
(4) re-enactments of meetings and other events

This documentary is the result of three years of research.

The historical and script consultant was Professor Sir Ian Kershaw who is said to be one of the world's leading experts on Hitler and Nazi Germany.
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