The crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime are often thought of as the work of the Waffen SS and Gestapo, under the direction of leaders like Himmler, Eichmann, and, ultimately, Hitler. The ordinary German soldier is usually seen as a noble pawn. Until now. In this astonishing, searing and vitallly important documentary, Michael Verhoeven director of the Oscar-nomintad Nasty Girl, unearths the long-buried truth - while simultaneously showing modern Germany in the thores of an identity crisis. The Unknown Soldier documents Germany's controversial Wehrmacht Exhibition, which for the first time ever revealed the personal letters, photographs and film footage implicating the common foot soldier in horrific acts. While nationalists and far right groups led street protests against it, saying the evidence damning their fathers and grandfathers had been falsified, Verhoeven iterviewed historians and experts, soliders and eyewitnesses, and traveled to the killing fields of the Eastern Front. The result is both an invaluable document and a revealing look at an insecure nation, still reconciling ist proud history with a unique and horrible wartime legacy.
Searingly thorough.....the line between wishful denial and nationalist pathology evaporates with terrifying ease. --Time Out NY
Provocative.....intriguing.....punctures the closely held belief that everyday citizens and low-ranking soldiers were blameless for the crimes of the Third Reich. Very few want to think of Grandpa as a Nazi. --Los Angeles Times
Both chilling and fascinating. Impressive. --The New York Times