Final Account Movie Review

Opens in theaters May 21 (German language with English sub-titles)

 

“Final Account” is a painfully somber experience. The documentary goes back into the German past and digs up many ghosts of the Nazi era. This is in the form of normal elderly adults who, from childhood, grew up in the Third Reich. They were persuaded into thinking that the Fatherland would be the shining beacon for the world. They lived through the rise and fall of Hitler, only to now nominally reject the beliefs they once held dear.

 

 

 

This was a long-term commitment from Luke Holland. He spent around ten years gathering interviews and other information about the everyday people in Germany. These are folks who grew up knowing nothing but the propaganda and lies from the Nazi Party. But for them, the poor and destitute country of Germany had no future without a Supreme Leader. Once Hitler was in place, the country grew and prospered (at least it did in their eyes). The country was once again on the world stage. They held a great pride in knowing that the Reign would last a thousand years.

 

 

These people in these interviews are very old now. They have sons and daughters and grandchildren. They also have the facts of the inhuman genocide brought about by the leadership of their country. They lived through the times where Jews and Gypsies and Communists became Enemies of the State. Many of these people had been their neighbors and near-by residents in towns. These groups were hated and despised, because they were sub-human and did not have pure blood. When the purges and pogroms came, the groups they hated became “unfit to live”.

 

 

Many of the interviews go on at length about how people heard whispers of roundups and banishment. They knew that some of the ‘sanitariums’ became places for Nazi ‘experiments’. Then soon after came the ‘resettlement camps. Then these turned into ‘concentration camps’. Of course, ultimately — these places became death camps. But many of the men being interviewed said they did not know exactly what was going on in there. Some of the woman in the interviews were workers in places next to these camps. And all of them claimed not to know the hard reality.

 

 

When Hitler’s ‘High Command’ decided that the only solution was the ‘Final Solution’, that was a death sentence for millions. The now elderly men and women still say that they thought the actual idea was to round up the lowly scum and ship them off to someplace else. They say they wanted a pure and clean Germany, free from any of those rascals. Perhaps they were not paying attention when the skies over the death camps filled with smoke and soot and ash. Maybe — they just did not want to believe.

 

 

Of course, now we can all look back in retrospect. We know all of the facts that are clear. These people in the interviews had been force-fed nothing by vile propaganda for years and years. But is there no judgment to be made of what they should have done, or even could have done? For many of these men, they were serving in the German military. So they had orders to keep. They had people above them calling the shots. The women also did not have a lot of leeway. There was a powerful Nazi Party machine with spies and surveillance on every corner.

 

 

There is a saying: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Many of these Germans were good people, or at least wanted to be good Germans. But did they shy away from seeing the real truth as it was happening? Many of these people now are ashamed of all that has happened. But quite a few of them do not accept that they were also part of the problem…

 

 

Luke Holland had taken many years to set up and hold these interviews and to put this movie together. He passed away shortly after his work was completed (June 2020). He never gets judgmental with any of the people with whom he interviews. He does not do anything flashy or call attention to himself. He only lets the cameras roll and captures some incredibly honest words from the people who where there.

 

 

These are stories and images of people who had been led astray by a force or evil. They speak for a time that is now past, about a place where they thought would be a new Eden. They did not know they had helped to unleash Hell.

 

 

Opens in theaters May 21 (German language with English sub-titles)

 

Final Account

Directed by: Luke Holland
Cinematography: Luke Holland
Edited by: Stefan Ronowicz
Distributed by: Focus Features
Release date: May 21, 2021
Length: 90 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic material and some disturbing images
Genre: Documentary

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Rating

tmc.io contributor: JMcNaughton

Well, now - COVID changes everything... But in my dreams:

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Comments

@peepso_user_49564(Susaninflorida)
lots of history.
@peepso_user_45175(JMcNaughton)
Yes, it is truly a difficult thing to make a documentary of many of the people who were around during Hitler's time (and did not do that much to try and stop him)