The Last Days
A film by James Moll
Steven Spielberg and The Shoah Foundation
Winner of the 1998 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
This is the first Holocaust documentary I have seen but I have read extensively about this era in history. From my research, I can give this film a “two thumbs up!” as Joel Sigel and Robert Egert did when they reviewed it. Emotional but not overly. It kept you horrified but not so much that your interest wained. It showed pictures, film footage and documents of the time but also interspersed up to date footage of the survivors being interviewed.
It's interesting how you can read of all sorts of disgusting things and it doesn't affect a person like seeing it. I knew the inmates looked like walking skeletons when the allies came. I knew of the mass executions and torture inflicted by the SS. I knew about the deportations and children being torn in half and how they saved their valuables (forgive me for not going into detail). I had read dozens of books about the barracks. I had read about the doctors and experiments. But to see it...
How did it suddenly seem so real? Why did I feel like I was the one losing my family members? Seeing that smoke stain the sky and knowing it was them? Watching one of the camp's doctors who managed to get pardoned as he spoke unemotionally about the people he experimented on and suddenly wishing I could slap him across the face. If I could only cause him a fraction of the pain he inflicted on the innocents.
And then I remembered... these are who Jesus Christ died for. It seems out of this world. I can't imagine, if he had any conscience left, how much guilt he has to live with every second of the day. I don't envy him. And I thank God that I have never been placed in his position.
For those interested in the Holocaust, this a good film to see. But I would recommend reading some books with it so you will understand it better. One of the reasons it affected me like it did was because I knew some of the other stories around those that were told in this film.
Alicia, Rena's Promise, Night, To Life, I Light A Candle and Pied Piper are some very good stories that will let you see a little more of this time in history. It's hard to get a clear picture of something without looking at several different views.
If anyone has recommendations for other documentaries, movies or books about the Holocaust, I would be interested in hearing them.