In March 1944, Hitler invaded Hungary and devoted considerable manpower and money to decimating Hungarian Jews. Five survivors recount their experiences in Nazi concentration camps during that final year of World War II. With intimate details, the face of tragedy becomes human: Renee Firestone talks about wearing her favorite bathing suit onto the cattle car, while Irene relates how she managed to keep her mother’s diamonds with her. The survivors return to the camps with their families to find some closure; especially moving is Renee’s confrontation with a Nazi doctor who “treated” her sister.
With a direct, simple execution, Moll uses the personal stories of five survivors to illuminate the unspeakable atrocity of Hitler’s Final Solution. Judicial use of archival camp footage and photographs provides an impactful ending; the stories, though sadly familiar, never cease to shock and disgust. The voices are articulate, and surprisingly compassionate. This was the first feature documentary produced through Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Visual History Foundation, and (deservedly) won an Academy Award for best documentary.