This six part documentary produced by the BBC looks not only at the horrors that took place in Auschwitz; but at the developments, both political and technological that resulted in what many consider the worst of all the Nazi internment camps – Auschwitz, along with its immediate aftereffects. I can’t say that this documentary was a pleasure to watch but it was educational, important, and horrific.
Educational because you find out many aspects about the camp and its history that one never knew before. Important because we should never forget its horrors or what humankind is capable of justifying in order to achieve its goals. Horrific! Over four million people lost their lives at Auschwitz, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and children. They were experimented, abused, starved, and humiliated before being led to the gas chambers and killed. All of this was horrific to me. Even worse to me was the business like methods of thinking and planning that took place in carrying out these atrocities on their victims.
Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State focuses more on the people and the politics than upon the gas chambers and the abuse. It features interviews with survivors, guards and soldiers who tell the story. When these were not available, they offer reenactments of meetings and events created from documents and testimonies from those who were involved. By means of these we see that the planning of Auschwitz was accomplished with no more emotion than if they were planning a new food processing plant while seeking the most efficient way to achieve their goals.
At the end of each segment Linda Ellerbee hosts a discussion with various educators, survivors, and historians regarding Auschwitz; the holocaust and what it means today. In some ways the most chilling of these segments was a discussion among a group of teenagers who had watched the program and visited the site of Auschwitz and worried that some of the attitudes that eventually resulted in Auschwitz might be occurring in the world today.