WolfmanOz at the Movies #16

The Holocaust

Given current events in Europe it is well worth remembering that the defining event of the last hundred years was probably the Holocaust.

Man’s inhumanity to man reached its zenith with the wholesale genocide of European Jews during World War II in which the Nazis systemically murdered some six million Jews, in addition there were probably at least another six million people murdered by the Nazis during the same period.

It would be fair to say, post World War II, cinema has struggled to come to terms in depicting the unbelievable events that occurred during this time . . .

I’ll be focusing on three films that focused on the Holocaust in differing ways.

1982’s Alan J. Pakula’s film Sophie’s Choice dealt with survivor’s guilt and had one of the most distressing scenes ever filmed as Meryl Streep starred, and was superlative in her best ever performance as a Polish immigrant with a dark secret from her past at Auschwitz.

Next was the how the Holocaust moved towards the factory style death camps that was never better dramatised in the superlative 2001 made-for-TV film Conspiracy starring Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann.

This drama is brilliantly acted by a terrific ensemble British cast which depicts the infamous 1942 Wannsee Conference which used the only surviving recorded transcript from the meeting.


And finally, to what I consider one of the best films ever made, and one of the most important in the way it brought the Holocaust into the conscious of many people in the last 30 years. Of course I am referring to Steve Spielberg’s masterpiece Schindler’s List, released in 1993.

Never has a film, IMO, dramatised so poignantly and with such ruthless detail as to what the experience of the Holocaust was in the way Spielberg achieved here in the telling of the Oskar Schindler story.

I have a dedicated playlist from this movie on my channel which has 10 clips, from which I have selected the following two:

If you can, enjoy and discuss.

51 thoughts on “WolfmanOz at the Movies #16”

  1. Man’s inhumanity to man reached its zenith with the wholesale genocide of European Jews during World War II

    Why is this the zenith?
    How do you rank this against the Holodomor or what happened in Mao’s China.?
    Far more people were killed as a result. Both of these events got/get far less attention, books, movies and compulsory study.


    Report comment

    12
  2. unfortunately, as Zyco points out, this event was unique only in its organisation and scale.

    Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Rwanda were not even done under the excuse of war.


    Report comment

    10
  3. An interesting person from the WWII period whose name is largely unknown is Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Hungary who saved many Jewish lives by issuing them Swedish passports. He did so even in the face of intense pressure and threats to his own safety.

    When the Soviet Army rolled through Hungary, he was arrested and disappeared without trace. His fate is completely unknown.

    The book “Righteous Gentle” tells the story. Might be one for you, Frollicking Mole.


    Report comment

    9
  4. There is a memorial to Raoul Wallenberg in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne in Victoria

    It’s at the main crossroads, overseen currently by 3 x huge video advertising panels, all featuring Josh Frydenberg

    a certain irony exists


    Report comment

    6
  5. Remember that time when big pharma and the global elites organised with the help of the media to reduce the world’s population using the pretext of a relatively harmless disease to conduct a mass experimental vaccination event, preferably without a control group.


    Report comment

    8
  6. Just finished the 3 part doco on Netflix: 5 came back. About 5 movie directors that joined up and made films for the US forces during WW2 & the effect it had on them after the war. Recommended. Made by Speilberg


    Report comment

    3
  7. You might like to add “The World at War – The Final Solution”, narrated by Laurence Olivier.

    It was part of a series, but I can’t forget it. Like the movies you list, once is enough.

    Others here are doing comparisons, and fair enough. For many of us oldies, we had friends and workmates with the tattoos. I had school friends with no family apart from their lucky parents. That brought the whole catastrophe up close, not in some distant primitive land far away.


    Report comment

    11
  8. Calli,

    I watched World at War with my parents in the ’80s and the episode about the death camps horrified me.

    I have a clear image of so many emaciated corpses piled up or pushed into pits. I think I was about 13 at the time and I remember going to bed and sobbing uncontrollably.

    I’m nearly 50 now and the image remains in my memory. As does the very haunting title music and the last of the images shown at the start.


    Report comment

    7
  9. Schindlers List is one of the best movies of all time.

    I’d agree, but I’ve only been able to watch it once. That was enough.

    I read somewhere that a Jewish survivor who was an adviser on the film had a panic attack when she saw Ralph Fiennes in uniform because he looked so much like his character, Amon Goth.

    I agree with others too that The Word at War series (1970s) was unforgettable.


    Report comment

    8
  10. callisays:
    April 14, 2022 at 10:07 am
    You might like to add “The World at War – The Final Solution”, narrated by Laurence Olivier.

    It was part of a series, but I can’t forget it. Like the movies you list, once is enough.

    Others here are doing comparisons, and fair enough. For many of us oldies, we had friends and workmates with the tattoos. I had school friends with no family apart from their lucky parents. That brought the whole catastrophe up close, not in some distant primitive land far away.

    Friends of my parents ran a clothing factory in Queensland. They told Mum once that they always kept a packed case each. If necessary, they would abandon everything and flee. As they commented, you can’t build another life elsewhere if you are dead.


    Report comment

    3
  11. I can close my eyes and see in bright shining detail the very moment I lost my childhood innocence and faith in the goodness of the world. My best friend at school had parents who had been in the camps and gave me a book about the experience for me to read. I was fourteen.

    I knew about the war and what Germany had done. I’d read Anne Frank’s diary. But this particular morning, reading out of sight of the teacher, I came to a detailed, factual, no holds barred description of the ghastly process of the gas chambers.

    I don’t remember the title of the book but I remember the sun shining through the classroom windows, the cloudless, enamel blue spring sky, the teacher’s voice fading into the background and my previous understanding of life and people irrevocably transformed.

    How a highly educated and cultured population that gave us philosophers, artists, writers, composers and musicians could ever believe that this was an acceptable answer to a non-existent problem is still unfathomable.


    Report comment

    16
  12. Does anyone remember a series about the Holocaust around in the early seventies that featured Peter Ustinov in the role of narrator? I’m positive it was a series and not the World at War episode mentioned above.

    The series seemed to be an unending cavalcade of images of emaciated corpses. I was very young when I watched it and those sort of images simply can’t be unseen.

    As for Man’s inhumanity to Man, the germans and their assorted hangers on perpetrated the outrages they did on the basis that the Jews weren’t human. They were a loathsome bunch of utterly amoral psychopaths leavened with bureaucratic tendencies. It’s also important to remember that the crimes committed by the russians were every bit as repellent and ultimately way higher on the murder scale. The allies should have kicked their stinking commie backsides all the way back to deepest darkest Siberia once the germans had been dealt with.

    nazism may have been an almighty abomination but it is gone, forever. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of communism. Like its equally loathsome collectivist idiotology in arms, islam, communism still has many, many millions of corpses to pile up. I also don’t intend ever becoming one of them, by the way.


    Report comment

    8
  13. Interesting observations Cats.
    Though the difference post 2022 is what have we have gained by those past experiences……
    A leader in the 21st century must now not only develop methods to maintain full control of those he/she has charge over, but also develop survival of the self if they are to enjoy the spoils of their toils on some oligarchs super yacht in the Mediteranean.

    If a King or Queen; keep both tongue and head pulled in and well out of harms way.

    If a Dictator; know well your chosen environment, employ crooked guards to begin with, and learn how to sleep in bullet proof pajamas.

    If a Prime Minister, make sure you successfully build your chosen empire along with any obliging opposition also dedicated to escalating the numbers of cloned civil servants, harmonious to identical ideologies and with goals of self perpetuation equal to that of the Grubment.
    Irrespective of the quantity of camouflaged love-ins offered by those grubment friendly personal jets, University decreed propaganda and fully supervised ballot boxes, one can still almost guarantee bullet proof vests will become derigueur for bureaucrats and ministers of such self crowned establishments in the not too distant future.

    Sadly though it appears history states the minions of the Nations will never get beyond being continually hoodwinked into believing they actually choose the asses that have developed a carte blanche jurisdiction over their futures


    Report comment

    4
  14. Megan @1.32 pm
    was the book “The Scourge of the Swastika” by Lord Russell of Liverpool. Published mid 1950’s?
    moderated

  15. One important reason the Holocaust shocked the contemporary generation more than the other mass atrocities mentioned above is that Germany was at that time, and and had been for several generations before, the most scientifically advanced nation on earth. It produced more Nobel laureates in the sciences than any other nation by far. Anyone doing serious research in physics, mathematics, the natural sciences and so on, had to be proficient in German to keep up with the research. People were perhaps not surpised that Communists in relatively backward societies like Russia or China might commit mass atrocities, but with the Holcaust the modernist conceit that the more scientific a nation became the more morally advanced and culturally progressive it became was exploded. It’s a lesson we are in danger of forgetting.


    Report comment

    14
  16. Schindler had help.

    Mimi Reinhardt, woman who typed up Schindler’s list, dead at 107 (11 Apr)

    JERUSALEM — Mimi Reinhardt, a secretary in Oskar Schindler’s office who typed up the list of Jews he saved from extermination by Nazi Germany, has died in Israel at the age of 107.

    Reinhardt died early Friday and was laid to rest Sunday in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, her son Sasha Weitman confirmed.

    She was one of 1,200 Jews saved by German businessman Schindler after he bribed Nazi authorities to let him keep them as workers in his factories. The account was made into the acclaimed 1993 film “Schindler’s List” by director Steven Spielberg.

    After the war, she made her way to the United States, where she lived until immigrating to Israel in 2007 at the age of 92.

    RIP lady, you did good.


    Report comment

    5
  17. Ralph Fiennes made the movie, the utter madness of his character was stomach turning. The same characters are amongst us now without the uniforms but still there and a lot closer than we would like to admit.


    Report comment

    13
  18. I have long thought that civilisation is a thin veneer on human nature. It does not take much for that veneer to be removed and the real evil that humans are capable of becomes evident.


    Report comment

    10
  19. Rogersays:
    April 14, 2022 at 2:42 pm
    One important reason the Holocaust shocked the contemporary generation more than the other mass atrocities mentioned above is that Germany was at that time, and and had been for several generations before, the most scientifically advanced nation on earth

    Luzusays:
    April 14, 2022 at 5:55 pm
    I have long thought that civilisation is a thin veneer on human nature. It does not take much for that veneer to be removed and the real evil that humans are capable of becomes evident.

    These are the lessons. It doesn’t take (to our view) a ‘backward’ or ‘uneducated’ society to inflict these horrors… the capability is there right now bubbling under the surface – it only takes a political movement to unleash it.

    We’re members of the last generations to personally know survivors of the holocaust. The lessons should never be forgotten (but they inevitably will be — witness the ‘othering’ of the unvaxxed, or anyone to the right of Lenin).


    Report comment

    10
  20. I have long thought that civilisation is a thin veneer on human nature. It does not take much for that veneer to be removed and the real evil that humans are capable of becomes evident.

    The Christian doctrine of original sin isn’t very popular these days.

    But it seems to me that it is the Christian doctrine for which we have the most empirical evidence.


    Report comment

    4
  21. Roger,

    I have a very dim view of human nature, largely informed by the doctrine of original sin.

    I know that humans are capable of great feats of courage, acts of service to others, self-sacrifice and love.

    But we are also cruel, selfish and self-absorbed, shallow and venal.

    It was civilisation based on Christian teachings that allowed certain societies to flourish.

    Now that Christianity has been rejected…


    Report comment

    4
  22. About nazism and communism: in other words, the choice, essentially, was between nationalist socialism and international socialism. . Between the devil and the deep blue sea, really.


    Report comment

    4
  23. The Christian doctrine of original sin isn’t very popular these days.

    It’s evolved into “inherated sin” and adopted by many Christians, Roger.


    Report comment

  24. The book “Righteous Gentle” tells the story.

    Richard Chamberlain starred in the TV mini series.
    Probably would’ve only aired once in Australia.


    Report comment

  25. 1. Never centralise power.
    2. Never give up your nukes.
    3. Never give up your guns.
    4. Never forget.
    5. Free speech is sacred.
    6. A government big enough to give it all to you is big enough to take it all away.
    7. Self defence is a necessary and logical corollary of liberty; police are merely agents to reinforce these rights.
    8. No government emergency ever legitimises authoritarianism, let alone totalitarianism.
    9. Responsibility without authority is slavery. This includes taxation, regulation & mandated payments that are too severe.
    10. The holocaust is sadly one of but many similar incidents in the 20th century.
    11. Western governments performed experiments like that of the Nazis, on their own citizens, before and after WWII.
    12. 9/11 and COVID along with “child protection” have seen usurpation of power only rivalled by fascist and communist states.
    13. Similarly, privacy is a necessary condition to liberty as are free speech and self defence.
    14. Ditto for freedom of association.
    15. Keep in mind state population control policies in the USSR saw a total of over 100 million people aborted. There were 1.8 million abortions a year in Russia in 2002 and in the USSR, in 1965, 5.5 million.
    16. World War One was somewhat obviously the great tragedy of the 20th century. Jews in pre war Europe enjoyed civil liberties, despite there being antisemitism prevalent in German speaking Europe, egged on by the Russian court (which was responsible for publishing the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion). The Austrian Empire seemed to be great, even the von Mises’ were granted a minor noble title.


    Report comment

    4
  26. I’ve got “Conspiracy” and also the German version “The Wansee Conference” which is, probably, the better of the two .. dun in B/W & excellent portrayal of the main characters … with subs ..


    Report comment

    2
  27. How a highly educated and cultured population that gave us philosophers, artists, writers, composers and musicians could ever believe that this was an acceptable answer to a non-existent problem is still unfathomable.

    After the last two years in this bogan paradise you still wonder? Why?


    Report comment

    4
  28. How a highly educated and cultured population that gave us philosophers, artists, writers, composers and musicians could ever believe that this was an acceptable answer to a non-existent problem is still unfathomable.
    After the last two years in this bogan paradise you still wonder? Why?

    Humans lose their sanity collectively (i.e. en masse) and regain it (if they’re lucky) one by one*.

    We are existing in the former stage.

    *Can’t remember who wrote this truism.


    Report comment

    4
  29. I just cannot watch these type of films. Just like I could not get myself to visit the actual death camps when I travelled through Eastern Europe in 1983. Humans inhumanity to other humans………………

    My youngest daughter ( 25 at the time) was on one of those organized young folks bus trips around Europe .. a tour of Auschwitz was on the Polish leg .. at the time I don’t think she knew much about the Holocaust other than as a flash-past part of Oz curriculum WW2 school lessons …
    She came home a very changed person with a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary and has since spent a lot of research/watching & reading (fact & fiction) on the “camps” …..


    Report comment

    4
  30. So don’t you worry about it, Rabz

    Thus spake Johannes Bird-Pieterson.

    Graeme, at this time of the year I can’t wish you any ill will.

    Seek help, Squire, you know you want to.


    Report comment

    3
  31. What any individual thinks is the ‘defining moment of the 20th century’ depends very much each person’s perspective. As noted here there are many possibilities available. For me the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the most significant. Not only did it take many thousands of innocent lives, but it changed the world for ever.


    Report comment

    1
  32. B of N:

    Perpetual “bad vibes” for those of us with German heritage, even being 3rd generation Oz native born. It also disturbs me somewhat how the Nazis are rightfully fair game, but all of the other 20th Century monster cults are “off limits”. It’s a real “mystery”; (NOT!!)

    There is an interesting You-Tube series called “Lost Battlefields_ with Tino Struckmann, which covers in depth, a lot of strange and nasty doings in Nazi-occupied Europe. The use of slave labour by Organisation Todt and the various “enterprises” run by the SS are staggering in their scale.

    Herzliya”

    A while a go, whilst trying to sort out boxes of inherited photos, I found a small batch of small prints that were a bit different. Possibly post WW2, they bear the neat purple stamp of a photo lab called “Palphot”, in “Hertsliya”.

    My sister is trying to track the provenance of the photos; .


    Report comment

  33. Is the original sin – the sin of pride?

    No it’s not. The term ‘original sin’ isn’t a biblical one but appears to be adopted by the Roman Catholic church to describe the sinning of Eve and Adam who disobeyed God instruction showing not only disobedience but lack of faith – see early part of the book of Genesis. As sin brought death from that point the entire earth including all nature changed dramatically and humans have ever since been tainted or ‘born in sin’. The first generation saw one brother murder his sibling and so on to our day.

    This is why Jesus had to be perfect and sinless and take our curse upon Himself, dying in our place then rising again alive forevermore. God is the originator and author of life, so anything cut off from him by sin must over time die. Jesus conquered the power of death over mankind and broke its power by rising again and then appearing to and spending time with hundreds of people fully alive and 100% human- in fact one of the most widely witnessed historical events with overwhelmingly solid evidence.


    Report comment

    1
  34. yackman says:
    April 14, 2022 at 1:52 pm
    Megan @1.32 pm
    was the book “The Scourge of the Swastika” by Lord Russell of Liverpool. Published mid 1950’s?

    Thanks, yackman but that’s not it.


    Report comment

    1
  35. Eyrie @4.28pm yesterday.

    I stopped wondering after a visit to the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem which lays out the propagandising and manipulation of the population brilliantly.

    It’s exactly why I am so vehemently opposed to what the DickTator did, and is still doing, to Victoria over the last two years. It’s not random or accidental or done with any good intentions. It’s straight out of the Nazi and Marxist playbooks. I despise all the sheep who leapt to attention and shouted “Yes, sir!”


    Report comment

    6
  36. After some deep searching of my memory and a bit of online research I think the book might have been one by Rudolf Vrba – most probably the Factory of Death.


    Report comment

  37. Drax:
    For me the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the most significant. Not only did it take many thousands of innocent lives, but it changed the world for ever.

    It is also argued that by forcing Japan to surrender, the Atom bomb saved the lives of millions of Japanese civilians, plus probably hundreds of thousands of invading troops, a fair number of them Ozzie diggers.


    Report comment

    5
  38. How a highly educated and cultured population that gave us philosophers, artists, writers, composers and musicians could ever believe that this was an acceptable answer to a non-existent problem is still unfathomable.

    That is the nub of it with the Holocaust, Megan. How could it have happened?
    I think now, post Covid excesses, we have a better idea of how quickly civilised people can be panicked into some fairly obnoxious behaviours and insane exclusionary policies. Condoned, indeed required, by leaders who bring in all the arms of the State to enforce their dictates.
    On the Holocaust, the controversial book “The Tattooist of Auschwicz” by Australian author Heather Morris, which recounts the experience of one male survivor a teenager at the time, told to her late in his life, is quite revealing of how people lived to survive in impossible situations in the camps. A sequel to this book went on to recount how one of the survivors, a sixteen year old girl, was sent on to a Soviet Gulag, also a form of death camp. Both books take the form of a novel, as with Schindler’s List, dramatising a true story. Hard to read, and the film hard to watch. Memorable and necessary.


    Report comment

  39. I have been invited to visit the death camps in Europe, but I just could not do it.
    I don’t think I could go to Hellfire Pass on the Burma Railway either.
    Or to the dreadful rooms of skulls in Cambodia.
    And these are all modern horrors.
    Time puts its scales and lichen upon those of the past, such as Beziers or Albi.


    Report comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.