Hitler's Children (2011)

Plot: A look into the lives of the descendants of the top Nazi officials who worked under Hitler's command.

My Review and Thoughts:

Hitler's children is a 2012 documentary. This showcases the struggle in the life of family members that have the blood lineage of Adolf Hitler's diabolical henchmen. The descendants of major Nazi criminals talk about the struggle, the pain, suffering, heartbreak of knowing the past actions of their relatives and loved ones to try and cope with who they are related to.

Some of the most powerful figures in the Nazi regime, such as Heinrich Himmler, Hans Frank, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Höss are showcased. This is a powerful touching emotional tour de force of a documentary because not only do you have the children that love their parents but you have the children that also loathe their parents for the crimes they've done, and yet at times the admiration of a child to the parent is always there.

To love a monster and to hate a monster, it's a bittersweet concept in this documentary. This showcases the ordeal in a stark haunting and beautiful aspect. The children of these war monsters seek out in trying to find peace and some do it through exploring the victims’ families of those their fathers have slaughtered. Their struggle seems at times seeking some kind of forgiveness or some kind of understanding.

We can all blame the monsters, they did what they did but the families, the children of those that did it, will always be marked and it's sad that we stick a stereotype or Scarlet Letter on those relatives of the killers. The shadows of horrors forcing them to change their names, hiding from the public view, from the history their names are stained with.

This is a landmark film for history. Here they are in this documentary, exploring, becoming a part of history. Trying to teach the wrong their parents or loved ones have done. Trying to come to terms with the struggles that they have gone through. The director of the film Chanoch Zeevi, came up with the idea after meeting with Adolf Hitler's personal secretary in her home in 1999. He went on to state about the documentary

"When I sat in front of her I suddenly understood that the need to try and understand the evil that led to the horrors of the Holocaust was an integral part of the narrative. I understood that the dialogue with the “other side” can teach us many new things on the fertile ground on which the hatred grew and in parallel convey a message of hope for the future”. “My intention is that the film will successfully touch many varied audiences and by doing that it may restart the discussion on the story of the holocaust of European Jewry in an intelligent manner and from a new point of view, and along the way, provide an indisputable answer to Holocaust deniers."

You're introduced to Bettina Goering. Herman Goering was her great uncle. Goering was one of the main leaders in Hitler's inner circle. A leader of the Nazi regiment. He was the one of the first to order the extermination of the European Jews. He was the leader and commander of the Luftwaffe the aerial branch of the Nazi army. After the war he was sentenced to death at Nuremberg. But before his hanging he committed suicide by swallowing cyanide.

Bettina lives in Santa Fe New Mexico. She stated that when she came to America she changed her name to her husbands and it was like she was free. It was like she was able to live her life without the burden of her family's name. It was like she was no longer looked at by giving the last name of a monster. She states and focuses on that living in Germany was a constant reminder. Living in America is like being free. In Germany people have to deal with it every day knowing about their past and what they were a part of.

You then are introduced to Katrin Himmler. Her great uncle is Heinrich Himmler possibly the worst monster and Nazi in history. He was the second in command and the creator of the SS. He was the one that put into plan the final solution to kill all Jews through extermination. Himmler was the evil that the Nazi party was about. If there is such a thing as evil, the monster under the bed or in the dark he was that creature. He created the death camps that millions upon millions of Jews were systematically murdered.

He committed suicide after he was captured. His name is forever a mark in history. She talks about how she studied foreign languages to make sure she would get rid of her German accent. She tried her hardest to separate herself for the reality of her families past, it was a forever stain on her family.

You then are introduced to Rainer Hoess. His grandfather Rudolph Hoss the commander of the Auschwitz extermination camp. Rudolph was the true mass murderer and in reality had no conscience. You then witness Rainer showing a third generation Holocaust survivor his fathers and grandfathers items from the Auschwitz Camp.

Rainer's father lived in with his mother and relatives with Rudolph Hoess on the grounds of Auschwitz. The house surrounded by block walls, past those walls consisted of the extermination ovens. The trains bringing the lambs to slaughter. A single gate separated the reality. Which Rainer called the gate to hell?

What is really disturbing and almost sickening is when Rainer talks about how right outside the gate was all the murders and here inside the gate his father played swimming, frolicking, dancing, laughing, family pictures show the kids smiling enjoying themselves and not even a few feet away outside that gate was Auschwitz. The sounds of the train. The smoke from the ovens. To think of that is truly disturbing.

I can't help but have very mixed emotions as I watched this documentary and I think this documentary is going give mixed emotions. It makes you think. It makes you guess. It makes you want to ask questions and the frustration knowing you will not get answers.

I think Rainer Is one of the key figures of the documentary because you can see his struggle in trying to come to terms with his father and his grandfather and his family knowing that they knew what was happening yet it was normal. It was no big deal. It was just another day. Another moment in the life of a Nazi.
You then are introduced to Nicklas Frank. He is the son of Hans Frank. Hans was Hitler's closest associate. He was with him during his rise of power. He was known as the Gov. Gen. of the occupied Poland. He was responsible for the ghettos and also the death camps. He was eventually convicted of war crimes and hanged. To showcase his father’s evil Nicklas goes around to schools and reads from his two books about his childhood and his parents. He greatly hates his parents and their legacy. He preaches against them and the horrors they did. He states both his parents were monsters. He had no love or care from either of them. 

You then are introduced to Monika Goeth the most important and direct child, a direct daughter to a pure bloodied monster from hell.
She is the daughter of Amon Goeth. The true sadistic demented individual commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland. This story telling by her is a true highlight of the documentary. She talks about how growing up she always thought her father was a good man that her father was a simple commander at a work camp. Her mother would fell her with lies that her father did no wrong until she finally slowly discovered who her real father was.

Amon Goeth was made famous for today's generation being a focal character in Steven Spielberg's 1993 masterpiece Schindler's List where Ralph Fiennes played his nightmarish character. Amon Goeth he was accused of the murder by his own hands of 10,000 Jews. He enjoyed target practice shooting with his rifle the Jews that crossed his path. He enjoyed releasing his German Shepard's after Jews.

The greatest story that is told is by Monika when she relates to finding out who her father really was. The experience of pain she suffered in a life altering way as she came to terms with the true reality of her father and mother. She was a full grown woman before she ever knew or realized who her daddy was or what her daddy did. It took questions and a Jew at a bar and Spielberg's movie to showcase the truth for her.

There's an amazing and wonderful comment made by Bettina in this documentary and goes like, it seems that German culture became Nazi culture. Sadly that's what has happened where you think of Germany you think of Nazis but there's so much more to Germany than just Nazi Germany. Germany existed before Nazis. Nazis stained the German population. Nazi's stained German culture and the most important thing history needs to do is to remember the history, food, the stories of Germany and we must separate the evil of the Nazi's from the German culture because German where not the only killer's in the Nazi party.

You have to look beyond Nazi's and not destroy the culture of Germany's past. Just because one man and all his horror and his monsters that followed him did an unspeakable genocide does not me the land of Germany and its roots and culture had anything to do with it.

This documentary will always leave a lasting impression on me and I think any viewer that watches is it will come out with a lasting mark. Especially the trip Rainer takes to Auschwitz with the third-generation holocaust survivor. Rainer the grandson of Rudolph Hoess traces his father's roots to that house where they plays and swam along while the Jews where burning right outside their houses gate. There are many moments that are eye opening. Many moments that are truly emotional you can't help but feel these relatives emotional turmoil and torment and the evil part of history they are a part of.

Chanoch Zeevi who created this powerful piece deserves a standing ovation. Deserves an award in expressing true thought provoking reality that should always be remembered. I give my hand for I wish to shake this passionate powerful spokesperson hand because he brought forth the truth. Next I want to show honor and praise for those relatives that stood up and showcased their lives for this film. They showcased great pain and passion and suffering in expressing the torment of their blood linage and for that they have my praise.

If there ever is a film that needs to be seen. That needs to be shown to children that needs to be taught in a lesson format it's this film. This is an amazing, gut wrenching reality wake up for this generation and all generations. It's a part of history that should never be forgotten and sadly you’re slowly starting to see that happen. There are more and more people that believe the holocaust did not happen. There are more and more people starting to question and remark against the Jewish nation and the horrors they went through. For there was a time when a single man stood up and started preaching against. Followers started following. Beliefs started to spread and next thing you know he is in powerful. Who was that man that started talking against a culture, started causing questions and denying history, his name was Adolf Hitler.

There's a comment by one of the people that live at Auschwitz area. Villagers that live in the houses outside (Yes I found it truly shocking that people still live there). The comment sticks with me even after I finished the documentary. It's a comment that is staying with me for the rest of my life because it hammered itself into me after I heard it. It's a comment that can give nightmares. A villager said that his grandmother used to say, make sure you wash the strawberries because of the ash, referring to the burning of the Jews.