Many movies and documentaries have been made about the Holocaust, nazi Germany, and fascism in Europe. Movies and documentaries can be used to educate audiences in a different way, by showing the stories of people who experienced fascism, by giving these stories a face. It’s a very different experience than just telling the story or writing it down, and for some people, it makes the information more real.
As part of our #FromHateToHope campaign, we have collected some recommendations for movies and documentaries. This first collection focuses on fascism and the holocaust. These movies could be used in an educational setting, to make young people aware of what happened during the 1940s, and why we should never let this happen again.
The movies are from different countries and in different languages.
In a later post, as we move more towards Human Rights Day (10 December) we will also share some movie recommendations about human rights defenders and their accomplishments.
- Schindler’s List (1993) – A well-known movie, but definitely worth mentioning here. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- Black Book (2006) – In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance. A Dutch movie.
- Labyrinth of Lies (2014) – A story that exposes the conspiracy of prominent German institutions and government branches to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II.
- Naked among wolves (1963) – In the last weeks of World War II, inmates of Buchenwald concentration camp hide a Polish child from the SS guards, hoping that the advance of the American forces will set them free.
- 1945 (2017) – Also known as Homecoming. 12 August 1945, 11 AM. Two mysterious strangers dressed in black appear at the railway station of a Hungarian village. Within a few hours, everything changes.
- Ida (2013) – Poland, 1962. Anna, an orphan brought up by nuns in the convent, is a novice. She has to see Wanda, her only living relative, before she takes her vows. Wanda tells Anna about her Jewish roots. Both women start a journey not only to find their family’s tragic story, but to see who they really are and where they belong.
- La vita è bella (1997) – Another classic. When an open-minded Jewish waiter and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.
- The Night of Broken Glass: The November 1938 Pogroms (2010) – After seizing power, the Nazis began their crusade against Jews with discriminatory laws and the looting of property; they turned to violence openly in what has come to be known as Kristallnacht: the night of broken glass. Through rare footage, photographs and documents, The Night of Broken Glass reveals the background to this orgy of anti-Semitic violence, which — while masterminded by the Nazi regime — is shown to have been largely accepted by the German public.
- Numbered (2012) – Auschwitz prisoners, both Jewish and non-Jewish, were tattooed with serial numbers, first on their chests and then their left arms. An estimated 400,000 numbers were tattooed in Auschwitz and its sub-camps; only some several thousand survivors are still alive today. NUMBERED is an explosive, highly visual, and emotionally cinematic journey, guided by testimonies and portraits of these survivors. The film documents the dark time and setting during which these tattoos were assigned as well as the meaning they took on in the years following the war.
- Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution’ (2005) – Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution’ is a BBC six-episode documentary film series presenting the story of Auschwitz concentration camp from its early operations in 1940 to the legal prosecution of Nazis involved in the operation of the camp. It combined interviews with former inmates and guards with authentic re-enactments of relevant events.
- The accountant of Auschwitz (2018) – Seventy years after WWII, Oskar Gröning, one of the last surviving members of the SS, goes on trial as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- The Story of Fascism in Europe (2018) – Rick Steves visits historical sites with local tour guides to explore the rise and fall of fascism in 20th-century Europe. He traces history after World War I to the rise of leaders who manipulated angry people to build totalitarian societies