What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy movie full length review - Rather Chilling Documentary
This documentary focuses on Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, both born in 1939, and both being the sons of high ranking officers in the Nazi regime, who were directly involved in the mass murders of Jews, and other citizens, during WWII.
However today, Niklas and Horst are near polar opposites in how they view their fathers. Niklas abhors and detests everything about his father Hans and what the Nazis did, and how, although he was only a young child during that period, his father's actions have haunted and plagued him his entire life.
On the other hand, Horst, at least in the film, shows no real emotion for those persons that were exterminated, but states that his father Otto was of good character who protested what was happening, and was only part of the Nazi system carrying out his duties.
One of the filmmakers Philippe Sands, an international lawyer specializing in genocide, is also a major participant in the movie. He is the chief interviewer of the two men, and also serves as narrator. We learn he's also directly linked to the story, as his grandfather was the only survivor of his 80 relatives that were killed by the Grossaktion in the Ukraine in 1942, where 3500 Jewish citizens of that area were exterminated. This was an area that was run by Otto von Wachter, under the command of Hans Frank.
There are a number of things in this documentary that I found very chilling and disturbing. To mention just a couple, one was how Niklas recalls his father coming home from another day of mass murder, and acting like a "normal" dad at home. Another was some of the Ukranians, during the 2014 uprising and civil strife, welcoming Horst, while wearing a type of Nazi paraphernalia, and telling him what a good man his father was, with seemingly no regard for those that were exterminated there.
Overall, I thought this was a well presented documentary, with fascinating film clips of the Nuremberg Trials and the prison there. I thought this movie presented a different angle to the infamous Nazi history as well, with the focus on two sons of Nazi officers and how they felt today some 70 years later about their fathers.