While I was glad to see Frontline airing this important historical film, I think it would have been appropriate to have framed the film with further discussion, by current historians, of the film's context and of its limitations as an historical document (the supplementary material on the Frontline website, for instance, is the kind of discussion that deserves to be aired with the film itself).
I would also like to point out two historical errors in the film, both of which have
been discussed at some length by historians: 1) The film portrays the gas chamber
at Dachau as having been fully operational, and suggests that Dachau was an
extermination camp on a par with the Nazis' other killing centers. As I understand
the current literature, there is some debate as to whether the Dachau gas chamber
was used to any great extent. 2) The film's narration states that 4 million people
were killed at Auschwitz, a figure that virtually all historians reject as
inaccurate. The Auschwitz State Museum estimates a death toll at the
Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million; the 4 million
estimate is generally regarded as an inflation by the former communist government
of Poland, aimed at implying that Polish communists, rather than Jews, were the
primary victims at the camp.
I mention these inaccuracies only because confusion on these and similar points have
been seized upon by fringe groups which attempt to deny the historical reality of
the Holocaust. While Holocaust deniers' claims are utterly without merit, it is
important that those of us who seek to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive also
do our best to present its history as accurately as possible.
Once again, I would like to thank Frontline and PBS for their fine programming
during Holocaust Remembrance week.
I have known survivors of Auschwitz since childhood. I've heard their stories of the horrors they endured. Seeing the British and German documentaries gave the horror a face - a face that cannot be denied.
The silence during the film was compelling, haunting. Who were these people that we see with such horrifying intimacy? Does anyone know? I'm troubled by the way the film, perhaps purposefully, leaves this ambiguous, as do your comments on the web site. Has anyone ever tried to identify the faces? There was no individuality in the way they died, and none in the way they were buried. Leaving them nameless and unknowable makes it all seem too far away. The policies of death are always directed toward groups. Yet death is very personal, very intimate. We have this chronicle; I hope someone is trying to know the faces.
Thank you for showing this. It is an important reminder in these times
and it makes me want to learn more about recent thought and scholarship
concerning the Holocaust and Germany during the period.
I was deeply moved by tonight's program. The images of the emacited bodies, who were once living breathing people like you and me, are so very haunting. It makes one's inner soul sob and despair over man's cruelty to one another. I hope this film, and others like it, will continue to remind us that the world has an obligation not to forget the Holocaust, in spite of the voices that declare the whole incident a sham.
The evil that humans do never fails to impress me. The sheer magnitude of the slaughter depicted in "Memory of the Camps" is shocking even now, 51 years later.
A government that invested so heavily in the development and implementation of a entire "system" solely designed to torture and to murder human beings on a grand scale is almost unimaginable.
It was a tragic example of the synergystic power attained
when many evil humans unite and have uncontested power.
Paul S. Novak
Having seen this film in 1985, I can still remember the feelings of horror and disgrace that I felt during the telecast and for some days afterwards. While watching tonight's broadcast, those same feeling returned. For me, the Holocaust has not been, or ever will be forgotten.
I was totally taken aback by what I have seen. I cannot believe that such horrible things can humans do to other human beings! I don't know how to even comment about what I saw. I only can wish their innocent souls rest in peace. Why would anyone do this? Why?
Thanks for keeping alive the memories of probably the most
inhuman ways humans did to innocent humans. Hopefully this
will remind us what we, as human are capable of doing. Also,
hopefully it will prevent anything of this nature to happen
in the world anymore.
Thanks again for bringing the unforgettable past. The people
who suffered will be in our memories till our deaths. The
documentary will continue to remind humanity even after.
Although I am very familair with the subject-matter, Ithought that the documentary was extremely gripping as well as disturbing. I found the information on your web page about the making of the film fascinating.
Unbelievably powerful. The continuous transition between humanity and inhumanity made the film all too real. My first emotion, of course, was hate. This quickly turned to shame, though, not because I had anything to do with the camps but simply because I shared something in common with the germans- I'm a human being. They brought shame to all of us by showing the depths of evil the human race can sink to. The show made me realize I need to go beyond simply feeling pain for the victims. I need to speak out more against violations of human rights, at all levels. I must DO more.
I have seen documentaries on this subject before, but never like this. One wonders how man could do that to another. It touched my soul watching it.
Thank you for showing Memory of the Camps. While extremely disturbing, what is even more disturbing to me however is a growing assertion among some in our society that these events did not occur, or equally alarming, a simple lack of historical knowledge by others. We must to continue to be reminded through graphical presentations such as yours in order to inform the uninformed and to rebuff those who would spread ignorance and deny these events.
I saw your program last nigth with my 12 year old daughter. Having discussed the death camps with her before, this program put into perspective what "Man can do to man." Although this happened prior to World War II and after in other countries, it really helped us discuss how we should relate to other people with differing attitudes, customs and looks. Thank you for an excellent program.
I can't say that I enjoyed this particular episode of Frontline, but I can say that I was moved beyond words; almost to tears. Being a history major in college, I had studied the camps in some depth, but always in the sanitary environment of a textbook and with the "safe" feeling that the passage of time brings. But, watching this episode brought it all home to me: What if it had been my country? My family? What if my two small children had been taken from me and murdered? The very thoughts of this are frightening, and I think it admirable of the filmmakers to remind us that history can and does repeat itself. I also express my unending admiration for the survivors of these camps--how anyone was able to pick up and go on after the loss of family, friends, and world is a mystery to me. God bless them Mary Huddleston
My father was a German Jew who left with his father right before Hitler came to power. They left to make a place for the rest of the family to go. Unfortunately, the rest of the family did not get to leave. This program was one of the few of the Holocaust that I had not previously watched. I found it intensely emotional and profound in its' content. I watched it with tears streaming down my face. I wondered if any of those faces were faces of my family that I would never know. Thank you so much for bringing this program into my home. God bless you all.
I've seen, for the first time in my life, a documentary that so tugs at the heart and soul, that it still cries for justice, even after all these years! I am retired military, and have spent many years in Germany, during the '70s and '80s. I was younger at the time, but still aware of being around some of those locations. Even then, when ever I got close to one of them, it seemed like I could still feel the pain and suffering, heavy in the surrounding area. And it made me not want to approach any closer! I could never understand exactly how an atrocity such as this, could have been bestowed "unknowningly" upon the general populace, by someone not even from the country. Hopefully this documentary will serve, purely as a reminder to future generations that, apathy toward God and country, allowed to imbed itself so deeply in the human soul will always yeild the exact same results. I often wonder, of the killed innocents, how many would have gone on to become peaceful, productive and positive......?? The possibilities stagger my imagination.