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The Unknown Soldier (2007)

Michael Verhoeven , Michael Verhoeven  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Verhoeven
  • Directors: Michael Verhoeven
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010YSDB8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
By MJG
Format:DVD
The subject of this documentary is the opening of the Wehrmachtaustellung (Wehrmacht Exhibition) in 1995, the now famous collection of photographs and documents that provided graphic evidence of German atrocities throughout the Second World War. What distinguished the exhibition from past scholarship on the 3rd Reich, was its depiction of the German Army, or Wehrmacht, as one of the main perpetrators of .the Holocaust - essentially no different from the SS, SD, or other Nazi organizations commonly associated with the brutality and mass murder of Hitler's regime. Although a full rehash of the Wehrmacht Exhibit isn't appropriate here, in short, the controversy that persists to this day is whether the photographs show individual acts of barbarism committed by German troops or, as the Exhibit maintains, irrefutable evidence of the German Army's complicity in Nazi crimes. In other words, are these photos proof that ordinary, rank-and-file German soldiers willingly, even enthusiastically, participated in mass murder? Or are these merely isolated cases that should not (or cannot) be distorted to represent the behavior of the over eleven million men who passed through the army's ranks?

Now to the documentary:

Scope: The film purports to provide an objective, balanced account of the Wehrmacht Exhibition, in particular the controversies over the exhibition itself, the public attention it aroused throughout Germany, and the circumstances of its premature closing due to inaccuracies among its photographs. In addition, the documentary attempts to further investigate the complicity of the Wehrmacht in Hitler's crimes and refute the notion that German Army had been a mere spectator, or pawn, during the Holocaust.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For everyone April 12, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I thought that this documentary about the "Unknown Soldier" exhibit tied in with testimony, pictures, film, and reports from historians et al - was a very good introduction to the Holocaust of WWII, and would be excellent for younger viewers, esp. gradeschool or middleschool age kids to spark discussions with parents or teachers. Unfortunarely the show is German with English subtitles, but it is still a great programme.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to an important topic July 14, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First,
This is a well-done documentary on the subject of the German Army and its participation in the Nazi genocidal project. Focusing on the 1995 Wehrmacht exhibition which first brought the crimes to public attention, it is an important introduction for those interested in the deep complicity of the Third Reich.

I must disagree with the top-rated reviewer. From a scholarly perspective, there is little doubt that the Wehrmacht was involved, AS AN ORGANIZATION in the Holocaust. MJG in his/her review simply focuses on a small attribution error in the exhibit that misidentified one Ukrainian perpetrator as a German soldier. The documentary does NOT focus on "isolated cases" nor should the crimes of the Wehrmacht be categorized as such.

Dear Amazon reader,
Beware many of the reviews here seem to be apologetic or unwilling to see the larger point which is that the German Army as an organization was a willing player in the crimes of the Third Reich.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing January 27, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this to be refreshing because over the years many speak as though it was only the S.S. einsatzgruppen who did the bulk of the atrocities. I am an Army veteran who spent time in Germany and I am also a serious collector of vintage wworld war 2 medals and my collection is vast containing very rare decorations from the Germans and Russians. Veterans of the Army who I spoke to back in 1993 when I was in Germany told me of the killings that men in their unit took part in. They also showed me black and white photo's of Army troops executing civilians and also posing with the bodies. They sometimes also assisted the S.S. in getting Jews or slave laborers on the trains. The subject was very hush hush when I was in Germany but it has since come to light. There were too many soldiers from too many units who got involved. I became friends with a former member of the S.S, mountain infantry regiment Nord who fought the Russians near the artic circle. Read the book Black Edelweiss by former S.S. Nord mountain trooper who speaks about both combat and conscience and that even though they had fierce fights with the Russians in northern Karelia and the Vosges Mountains, he never witnessed one instance of atrocity between the German and the Russians, I am well versed in the S.S. units and Nord has not be put in the category such as Das Reich or totenkof. It's time for people to accept the truths that the Army was also responsible for killings. I make a point to acknowledge the soldier who fought hard for his comrades even when he knew the war was lost, but was no a part of any atrocities. The subject matter is delicate but must be told.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free at last October 16, 2008
Format:DVD
Until the full extent of German complicity--civilians and soldiers included--in the atrocities of WWII are revealed this nation will never be free from the considerable shame wrought by this time period. We should keep in mind too, though, that there were German resistance fighters and that most attempts on Adolf Hitler's life were committed by German citizens/military.

"The Unknown Soldier" is a particularly disheartening documentary on the 1995 Wehrmacht exhibition that took place in Vienna (and opens periodically every year those who care to take a look) which reveals pretty clearly that all members of the German army were either aware of or took part in the atrocities and mass shootings of civilians usually relegated to the SS or the Gestapo.

The obvious place of the Holocaust in the German psyche is shown very clearly as people outside the exhibition shove each other around, scream, and passionately debate about the accuracy or non-accuracy of the material presented in the exhibition. At one point a group of nearly toothless skinheads and right wing nutcases show up flying the Iron Cross and insisting that the whole thing is nonsense and that "the press lies".

Not so, it seems. Four German historians, sensitive to the subject matter, uncover photographs of ordinary German soldiers standing next to executed jews (one photograph of a three year old jewish girl hanging is vomit worthy) and make it fairly clear that all German soldiers, Wehrmacht included, were given explicit instructions that they carried around on the Eastern front to shoot any of the "rabble" they encountered. An aging member of the Wehrmacht admits very frankly that Hitler's "Mein Kampf" captivated him for a time, and that he witnessed more than a few atrocities committed by the army.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Codswallop!
More rubbish serving to perpetuate the extortion racket known as the Holocaust.

The written works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was a captain of artillery in the Soviet... Read more
Published 7 days ago by anonymous
4.0 out of 5 stars Outrageous that They still try to Deny it.
This is an exemplory film that shows a side of WWII that is not often discussed. In movies and films it is always the SS and members of the Third Reich who perpetrated the crimes... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Katherine
5.0 out of 5 stars The German Foor Soldier: All, Mostly, or Minimally Guilty for...
Powerful documentary. The question of German "guilt" revisited.
Published 1 month ago by Andrew B.
3.0 out of 5 stars To know the unknown?
The first review (by MJG) is excellent and well written . . . I have only one comment to add. The translation captions can be tedious for some and an understanding of the Germany... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Honey Solomon
5.0 out of 5 stars What documentary reporting should aspire to
A very balanced yet clear indictment of the Wehrmacht criminal conduct in WWII.

Should be part of the world history education of all American children as the US Military... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Syd Geraghty
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, incisiveful, brave
The documentary is extraordinary, but not as extraordinary as the German academics who dared display the truth about the German Army during WWII. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Conan
3.0 out of 5 stars Contradiction during the first 5 minutes of this Film
I noticed quite a contradiction during the first 5 minutes of this documentary.
One older German who got interviewed claims that the Wehrmacht had no idea what was going on in... Read more
Published on August 20, 2011 by C. Mathieu
1.0 out of 5 stars Let's keep beating this dead horse
This was a documentary about an exhibition that made it seem that the entire German army in WWII, without any exceptions, were guilty of war crimes and the reactions to the... Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by A. Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Truth.
As a student of the German side re WWII for over 10 years, If there is one issue that just hits me like a sucker punch, it's the continuing ridiculous notion that the Wehrmacht was... Read more
Published on October 4, 2010 by Richard Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Were All Wehrmacht Soldiers War Criminals?
This documentary, designed for modern German and Austrian audiences, is startling, and for Germans born in the 1950s and 1960s it damns the older members of their families with a... Read more
Published on October 17, 2008 by Robert C. Doyle
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