The latest trend in Holocaust theme filmmaking is to humanize the devils. In the last two years there have been, for really the first time, movies made that portray figures like Hitler as not just a symbol of something terrible, but as a character (Downfall, Hitler: The Rise of Evil). Yes, these men and women seem to be almost mythologically evil and what they did inconceivably demonic, however they were in fact born, spanked, zit-faced, awkward, happy, sad, and ultimately insane, heartless human beings. As the years go by and the iron begins to cool somewhat, our reaction to these individuals naturally sweeps from pure anger and resentment to curiosity and confusion. Of course we will never forget that our parents and grandparents were in camps and suffered beyond the imaginable, but the current generation, almost three removed from the war itself, will grow up, in the security of their suburban enclaves wondering why.
Lutz Hachmeister and Michael Kloft's documentary is nicely done and undeniably authentic. It is hard to go wrong when your research turned up reel after reel of Nazi era footage and dozens of audio tapes from the regime. Most impressively, the narrator of the film about Goebbels, Hitler's infamous master of propaganda, is Goebbels himself. Using the cool, soulless voice of actor Kenneth Branagh, we are hearing the story of Goebbels' rise in the Nazi party through his own words, taken from his diary. With these ingredients, the film reaches impressive levels of insight into the mind of a madman. The question then becomes whether we care or not about the motivations of such men. Does it matter that he had a bad relationship with his father or that he couldn't play with the other children because of a leg injury? It seems that we are very concerned with representing certain evil, specifically Nazi evil, as almost supernatural, as Amalekesque. There is a commandment to kill Amalek because they are bad to the core, an evil that transcends any rationale