70 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz camp, our eight-part film about the destruction of Europe's Jews sets out to explore a story whose roots go back to before the start of the 20th century, and which is still playing out today.
Through previously undiscovered private letters, photos and diaries that were found in the Himmler family house in 1945, the 'The Decent One' exposes a unique and at times uncomfortable access to the life and mind of the merciless 'Architect of the Final Solution'
Der Anständige" (Himmer's private letters) is saddled with the unfortunately banal English release title of "The DECENT ONE" which will undoubtedly cause too many people to overlook it -- which is indeed unfortunate, because this film --fortunately caught at the Miskolc film festival in Hungary in September -- is definitely one of the more interesting documentaries to probe the background of top Nazi leaders and Holocaust perpetrators to come out in recent years. What this film does is is let Himmler, the most notorious Nazi of all next to Hitler himself -- speak for himself, through private letters sent to his wife throughout his unbelievably nefarious career. We therefore see an absolutely callous mass murderer as he saw himself -- which is to say as basically a warm hearted family man in love with a woman whom he eventually marries, but having to sacrifice his love in the name of duty -- a higher calling ...to exterminate all enemies of the Third Reich -- revealing his personal feelings to her in private letters at various stages of his insanely murderous career which is barely hinted at in the nebulous background lurking behind these letters. As Hanna Arendt pointed out in "The Banality of Evil" it is necessary to see that mass murderers like Himmler, Eichman, and company, did have private lives, and did not see themselves as evil bastards but rather as devoted men carrying out a lofty mission. Ugh. Shrug. Shudder. This remarkable documentary will evoke a different kind of revulsion in a new dimension. A must see for all having any interest in Naziism and Holocaust studies as well as, on a purely formal level, styles of documentation. Belgian~Israeli director Vanessa Lapa assembled this utterly amazing film from a cache of Himmler family letters that were "liberated" by advancing American troops at the end of the war and circulated for decades on a paper black market until winding up somehow in the hands of Vanessa's father in Israel -- but that is sordid story of its own.
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