Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution' (BBC)

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War Documentary hosted by Samuel West, published by BBC in 2005 - English narration

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Image: Auschwitz-The-Nazis-and-the-Final-Solution-BBC-Cover.jpg

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Auschwitz represents a crime unique in human history. Hailed as one of the world's best documentaries ever, this 6-part BBC series tells the story of the Auschwitz Death Camp, site of the largest mass murder in history. 'Auschwitz and The Final Solution' leads the viewer on an unadorned and undisguised journey to the shocking horrors of the Second World War. Writer Laurence Rees and his team interviewed over 100 eyewitnesses, including former Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their story is brought to life through the use of archived footage, recreations of key moments, computer reconstructions based on recently discovered plans of the camp, and their testimony. The series follows the traces of the mass murder. It begins with the construction of Auschwitz as a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners and shows how it developed into the largest extermination camp during World War II. It explains the liberation of the camp by the Red Army in January 1945 and shows the fates of victims and perpetrators in the post-war period. Series combines the memories of victims and perpetrators with archive footage and very carefully staged drama reconstructions of many key scenes in the history of the camp. For the first time, the buildings of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex are reconstructed using the latest CGI computer animations. The animations are based on plans from the design offices that were confiscated after the end of the war, as well as eyewitness accounts and aerial photographs. They not only show the real Auschwitz, but also make it clear with which visions the Nazis set up the camp. "The name Auschwitz is quite rightly synonymous with horror," says series producer Laurence Rees, "but the problem with horror is that our natural reaction is to want to turn away from it." The series still wants to show what happened. But it's not just about the shocking and unimaginable suffering of the victims. It also addresses the question of why the perpetrators acted the way they did. "I am convinced that feeling horror is not enough. We must also try to understand how such horror could have happened if we are to be able to prevent it from happening again in the future", says Rees. Three years of intensive research preceded the filming. In the course of the production, survivors and perpetrators had their say in almost 100 interviews, many of whom spoke about Auschwitz in front of a camera for the first time. Many documents and plans that were used for the production have only been accessible since the archives in Eastern Europe were opened. Written and Produced by Laurence Rees ; A BBC/KCET Hollywood Co-Production

[edit] Surprising Beginnings (March 1940-September 1941)

Auschwitz is the site of the greatest mass murder in human history. More than a million men, women and children were killed in the concentration camp. In order for the destruction machine to run efficiently, the methods were constantly being further developed. "Surprising Beginnings" sets the stage for the series and examines the radical increase in violence against all opponents of the Nazi state during this 18-month period. In particular, the program explores the importance of the German Army's invasion of the Soviet Union during the summer of 1941 and connects this campaign to the first gassing experiments in Auschwitz, Poland, which were aimed at Russian prisoners of war, not Jews.

[edit] Orders and Initiatives (September 1941-March 1942)

Laurence Rees continues his documentary history, marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, with an account of how the Nazis developed their "Final Solution". By 1942, Rudolf Hoess had established the camp as a place to murder thousands of people, but the horrific regime demanded yet more be killed. "Orders and Initiatives" highlights the crucial decision-making period of the Holocaust, encompassing the secret plans of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Reinhard Heydrich. At a conference at Wannsee in January 1942, the participants work toward finalizing their goal--the systematic genocide of an entire people. The first gas chambers are built at Auschwitz and the use of Zyklon B is developed. German doctors arrive to oversee each transport, deciding who should live and who should die.

[edit] Factories of Death (March 1942-March 1943)

In 1942, the "final solution to the Jewish question" became the declared goal. The Nazis begin to deport Jews east from across Europe. Treblinka is expanded into a murder factory. Rudolf Hoess is planning a similar extension for Auschwitz. The Nazis' marshalling of Jews from across Europe - including the Channel Islands- gained momentum in 1942. Unable to cope with the huge influx, Auschwitz and Treblinka were modified with bigger gas chambers and crematoria. But inspirational stories of courage and compassion could still be found among this appalling catalogue of inhumanity, including that of German officer Albert Battel, who risked his life to save detainees. "Factories of Death" examines the complex annihilation system that the Nazis spread throughout Europe, with Auschwitz as the hub. We learn why the first transport of Jewish men, women, and children interred at Drancy, outside Paris, were transported to Auschwitz in March 1942 and what happened to the children who were rounded up without their parents. Genocide is being perpetrated not only at Auschwitz, but at other camps, such as Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. Astonishingly, rival Nazi camp commanders participate with enthusiasm and share ideas for the best method of mass murder.

[edit] Corruption (April 1943-March 1944)

In 1943, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp had over 40 sub-camps. Most of them housed forced laborers for armaments and other industrial companies - a lucrative source of income for the Nazis. Corruption is rampant. At the same time, Mengele made his cruel human experiments on concentration camp prisoners. "Corruption" reveals why Auschwitz was unique in the Nazi state as the only site that was both a concentration and an extermination camp. The reason was simple-money. At Auschwitz, the Nazis wanted to kill "useless mouths" instantly and work stronger prisoners to death as slave laborers in places like the nearby IG Farben factory. Meanwhile, the SS profited from the belongings of those they killed. By 1943, life was good for many of the SS. Eyewitness accounts recall how those in power at Auschwitz lined their pockets with wealth stolen from Jewish inmates while also engaging in illicit affairs-so much so, that in the summer of 1943, an investigation was launched into corruption in the camp and the commandant was removed. Elsewhere, individuals and nations are finding ways to resist the spread of deportations. Denmark, for example, is able to protect its Jewish population from Auschwitz.

[edit] Frenzied Killing (March 1944-December 1944)

1944 is the cruellest year in the history of Auschwitz. More people are being murdered than in all the years before. SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann ordered the deportation of Hungary's Jews following occupation in 1944, precipitating the most intensive period of slaughter in Aushwitz's history. The Allies are informed about the camps and there is resistance in the great Sonderkommando revolt. The Allies, meanwhile, faced dilemmas: should they divert valuable resources to bomb transport routes to the camp? And should they consider Eichmann's offer of one million Jewish lives in exchange for certain provisions - the "Blood for Goods" deal? "Frenzied Killing " explores the complex web of international politics spun during the last nine months of 1944. By that spring, the Allies knew about Auschwitz and had the military capability to bomb it. Yet despite the pleas of Jewish leaders, the British and Americans decided not to bomb the railways or gas chambers. During the spring and summer, hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz at a time when the killing machinery had been honed to perfection. That autumn saw a significant act of resistance in Auschwitz, when a group of Jewish prisoners revolted. Amazingly, before their deaths, some secretly wrote about their experiences.

[edit] Liberation and Revenge (January 1945 and beyond)

On January 27, 1945, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army. The sight of the emaciated people and the gas chambers shocked the soldiers. The reality of life in the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen camps was revealed. A few months later, more concentration camps were liberated. Many survivors die shortly afterwards as a result of their imprisonment, while most of those responsible are able to flee abroad. What was the fate of the remaining prisoners and the SS garrisons? "Liberation and Revenge" completes the history of Auschwitz. As the end of the war approached, Auschwitz camp officers tried to hide the evidence of their crimes but were not completely successful. After liberation, survivors searched for their family and tried to return to their prewar homes, but former communities and neighbors did not always welcome them back. As evidence of war crimes emerged, some senior SS officers were tried and convicted; others were allowed to resume their lives. Over four years, 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz and 1.1 million people died there. Of the 7,000 members of the SS who worked at Auschwitz and survived the war, fewer than 800 were ever put on trial. The final days of the war and its immediate aftermath is a story as shocking as it is surprising, with Jewish survivors facing appalling treatment in their home countries and large numbers of SS perpetrators remaining hidden.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 2 429 Kbps
Video Resolution: 1024x576
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 47 min
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: 896 MB - 907 MB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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