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Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State

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Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State + Frontline - Memory of the Camps + Holocaust - Ravensbruck & Buchenwald
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Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel West, Linda Ellerbee, Gert Heidenreich, Linda Hunt, Horst-Günter Marx
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Mono
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 26, 2009
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000777JH8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,087 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Laurence Rees
  • A series of six follow-up discussions hosted by journalist Linda Ellerbee

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This six-part series tells the story of the Auschwitz Death Camp, site of the largest mass murder in the history of the world. 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 innovative use of archived footage, dramatic recreations of key moments, computer reconstructions based on recently discovered plans of the camp, and their extraordinary testimony. This will be the definitive television history of Auschwitz and the Nazi State.


More than any previous documentary about the Holocaust, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State reveals the inner workings of the Nazi implementation of Hitler's infamous "final solution." Drawing on the latest academic discoveries, this remarkable BBC series presents a wide-ranging, meticulously researched biography of the titular "killing factory" and its evolution into a highly efficient location for industrialized extermination of well over one million Jews, gypsies, and other so-called "mongrel races" between 1940 and 1945. From "Surprising Beginnings" to "Liberation & Revenge," the six-chapter program chronicles the gradual process that escalated into the Holocaust, focusing its expansive European timeline on the detailed movements of preeminent (and highly corruptible) Holocaust engineers like Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Höss, and "death doctor" Josef Mengele. Through painstakingly authentic reenactments of crucial meetings including the Wannsee Conference (where the "final solution" was secretly devised), we see and hear the Nazi thought processes, built on virulent hatred and bigotry, that "justified" mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

Subtle but exacting use of computer-animated effects allows three-dimensional exploration of newly discovered architectural plans and buildings long-ago destroyed, revealing the transformation of Auschwitz as World War II progressed. Along with rare archival footage, thorough documentation, and frank testimony from Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators (not all of them penitent about their crimes), these programs make expert use of commanding narration by Oscar®-winning actress Linda Hunt, who brings depth and gravitas to a grim litany of sobering facts and figures. The result is an all-encompassing portrait of Auschwitz unlike anything seen before, masterfully written and produced by Laurence Rees with equal parts tenacity, intelligence, and integrity, informed by an overriding sense of moral outrage that is entirely appropriate to the history being examined. It's a remarkable achievement, as important as Shoah as a definitive exploration of one of the darkest chapters in human history. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

This is an excellent BBC production on Auschwitz.
This is a most informative documentary, I was most impressed with the thoroughness that was discussed.
Thomas Carr
The use of actors protraying Nazis might seem a little silly, but it fits right in.
D. Sheppard-Brick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 123 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on May 17, 2005
Format: DVD
Movie: ***** DVD Transfer: ***** Extras: *****

A unique and highly informative 6-part documentary that examines the establishment and development of the Auschwitz-Birkenow concentration camp within the historical context of the Nazi's changing strategies and goals during the Second World War. Using historical photographs, filmed re-enactments, recent interviews with both survivors and perpetrators, and computer models based on recently discovered blueprints of the camp, the filmmakers painstakingly trace the evolution of Auschwitz from a detainee facility built to house Polish prisoners, to a forced labor camp, and finally, to an infamous and horrifyingly efficient factory devoted to mass murder. Brilliantly and movingly narrated by actress Linda Hunt (Oscar-winner for "The Year of Living Dangerously"), the 4-1/2 hour series is intellectually stimulating, educationally astonishing, and emotionally overwhelming as it attempts the almost impossible task of explaining the incomprehensible. That "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State" succeeds so well in its mission is a testament to the commitment and skill of the filmmakers.

The DVD also includes a revealing interview with filmmaker Lawrence Rees, who produced the series; and a series of six short interview segments with Holocaust and genocide authorities, each of which is hosted by esteemed journalist Linda Ellerbee. These interviews, originally designed to air as companion pieces to the six parts of the documentary, are invaluable tools in providing modern day context to the lessons and legacy of Auschwitz, and a framework in which to consider the ongoing horror of genocide. Literate and immensely powerful, this 2-disc DVD set is most highly recommended viewing for those wishing to educate themselves about one of the darkest chapters in all of human history.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Charles Curtis on February 27, 2010
Format: DVD
I just watched this film again, for the second time.

Three years ago, I made the trip to southern Poland and visited O'wi'cim, just outside Krakow.. I saw part of remnants of the massive concentration camp and industrial complex there that that the Germans called Auschwitz- Specifically the two extermination camps at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau. The experience was one of the most searing of my life.

I walked the grounds along the barbed wire and railway tracks, through the iconic gates and buildings.. I got a sense of the scale of the place, of the geography. Something that had always been somewhat abstract to me, became that afternoon very - and all too horrifically - substantial. I wandered the vast Birkenau compound past the small ponds still gray and clouded with the ashes of hundreds of thousands. I witnessed the piles of shoes, glasses, suitcases.. The hair shorn in a great heap.. Relics of the thousands of victims murdered at the very end of the war. I stood by the rubble of the gas chambers, blown to slag by the SS as the Soviets bore down on them in the very last days of the Reich..

I stood and gazed up at the cruel sneering mendacious "Arbeit Macht Frei" - that famous motto borrowed from Dachau emblazoned in steel wire above the entrance - with fresh eyes, as if for the first time.

The nightmare was overwhelming. I wandered about mute, not sure how to process any of it.

As I left, I stopped in the gift shop, and bought this film. I watched it in my hotel that night. It brought everything I had seen that day into clearer focus.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on September 20, 2005
Format: DVD
No film or documentary could ever fully cover the enormity of the Shoah, everything that went on, every last aspect, but this one really hits the mark on the area of the Shoah it chose to focus on. This three-part documentary focuses on Oswiecim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) in general and on the inner-workings of the camp, the blueprints for genocide, in particular. There are interviews with people who were actually there (on both sides), multiple historical re-enactments, pictures, documents, diagrams, blueprints, plenty of narration, you name it. We start from the beginning, the seeds that led to genocide and the first baby steps towards it (euthanising the mentally ill in Germany), to the creation of the camp and some of its first victims, such as the orphaned French children (prior to early 1942 the camp had only housed male Polish political prisoners and criminals), and finally to the period of the camp's highest murder rate, the arrival of Hungarian Jewry starting in May of 1944, through to liberation, what happened to the survivors, how some of the people in charge were caught and brought to justice, and how some, such as Mengele, were never. We also get, along the way, information about some of the other death camps, such as Treblinka, and how that camp did not start out as a model camp (it was run so "inefficiently," not enough people murdered quickly enough and then disposed of in a quick and speedy matter, that the person running the camp, "Dr." Irmfried Eberl, was dismissed). Also included are episodes about how the power corrupted many of the Nazis running or working at the camp, sometimes leading to intrigue.Read more ›
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