Friday, June 4, 1999

Holocaust recalled with integrity

Movie: The Last Days

Posted on Fri, Jun 4, 1999 at 4:00 AM

Our Rating: 4.00

The woman cries. Her voice falters. She covers her face with her hands to suffocate the images that find unbearable refuge in her mind. Wounded, agonizing words -- the raw flesh of memory -- come slowly out of her mouth as she remembers hearing the screams, watching two children fall out of the truck, seeing an SS officer pick them up and hit them hard against the truck. She covers her eyes, but the image is still there: the children, the blood running down their faces.

"That's when I stopped talking to God," she says.

"I wasn't young anymore," the man looks up and smiles. "I was very old. I was 16, but I was very old."

Five Americans, all Hungarian Holocaust survivors -- a teacher, an artist, a grandmother, a businessman and a United States congressman -- talk about the last days of the Third Reich and Hitler's decision to carry out "the final solution," a full-scale genocide launched after the invasion of Hungary. Their terrifying stories describe in vivid detail the humiliation, the experiments, the death inside, the fear, the momentary absence of God. Their memories -- narrated in words that collapse under the weight of their own historical responsibility -- offer insight into a madman's hell: the concentration camps at Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchen-wald.

Directed and edited by James Moll ("Survivors of the Holocaust"), "The Last Days" is the first feature documentary from the Shoah Foundation, whose mission is "to preserve eyewitness testimonies of the Holocaust survivors and teach racial, ethnic, religious and cultural tolerance."

"Highest on our list of priorities was strict historical integrity," says Moll. "Everyone who appears in the film was there when it happened -- including three American liberators at Dachau and Dr. Hans Munch, a former Nazi doctor who performed medical experiments at Auschwitz."

"It's good," says Dr. Munch as he looks over the records of one of his experiments. "These are all good tests. It's all good."

But "good" isn't the word that comes to mind when a silent camera pans over endless fields of wild flowers that hide thousands of graves. And the solitary angel of death wandering aimlessly through those fields still doesn't know whose forgiveness to ask.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues


© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation