I have read and watched a lot of things about the Holocaust, mainly from the Jewish point of view. I have no family connection to it, that I know of (although my grandfather did fight). It's just a part of history that has always interested me.
This documentary was fascinating. Three men are involved: Philippe Sands, a British human rights lawyer of Jewish descent, who lost the majority of his family to the Holocaust, Niklas Frank, the son of "The Butcher of Poland," and Horst von Wachter, the son of another high ranking German official.
Obviously, Mr. Sands is very emotional, at times...especially at the site of the massacre of his family and the ruins of the family's synagogue. Mr. Frank wrote a book denouncing his father that caused some controversy in Germany. Mr. von Wachter, on the other hand, refuses to link his father to the thousands of murders that happened under his leadership.
I felt sorry for Mr. von Wachter, the other two kept trying to push him to acknowledge who his father really was, but he resisted. Mr. Frank went so far as to say that he thinks Horst is a Nazi and that this was the end of their friendship. These men are in the 70's and have known each other since they were children.
Mr. Frank, although saying at one point he had a happy childhood, was very bitter towards both of his parents. He didn't seem to have had any sort of happy, healthy relationship with them and credits his nurse with anything that is good within him....
Mr. von Wachter had a happy childhood. His parents loved each other and their children. It is hard for him to reconcile who he knew as his father and who is the monster in history. Plus his father is still considered to be a hero in some circles (some Ukrainians and present-day Nazis)
Mr. Frank's father was caught and tried at Nuremberg and hanged. Mr. von Wachter's was not...he went into hiding and died in 1949. This gives Horst the excuse that he was never found guilty.
When they were at the burnt out synogague, Horst stated that he refuses to get stuck in the past and saw the synogague as what it could become in the future. I understand why it is so hard for him to admit who his father was, but that denial can also be dangerous.
So interesting to see how our personal experiences (their childhoods) can influence how we see things, watch it if you can...