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by Chanoch Ze'evi
The Hoess family did everything they could to ignore the horror. The windows were boarded up so that they couldn't see the chimneys and the gas chambers from their mansion. Family photos show children playing outside and other idyllic scenes that don't betray the presence of the camp. The only things they couldn't ignore, explains Rainer Hoess almost 70 years later, was the stench of burned bodies and the thick layer of ash that covered the garden. His grandfather was the commander at Auschwitz, and his father grew up there. After a long time, Rainer finally managed to summon up the courage to visit the former concentration camp together with a Jewish friend.
Hitler's Children introduces us to close family members of prominent figures from the Nazi regime. They explain what it is like to have to live with the weight of their family history. Himmler's great-niece married an Israeli Jew, Göering's great-niece had herself sterilized, and the son of the camp's executioner attempts to process his family's past through writing. We watch Hitler's traumatized children filmed in a suitably austere style - there are no eye-catching camera movements, no fast edits, and no dramatic musical flourishes. This style underscores the utterly earnest tone of the film and the fact that the German soul still bears deep scars two generations after the events.
Director & Producer: Chanoch Ze'evi
Production Company: Maya Productions
Cinematographer: Yoram Millo
Editor: Arik Lahav-Leibovitz
Soundtrack Editor: Gil Toren
Original Soundtrack: Ophir Leibovitch
Supporters: The New Fund for Cinema and Television, Reshet, RTS, MDR, WDR, SWR
Script: Chanoch Ze'evi
Co-Production: Saxonia Entertainment Germany
DIRECTOR - CHANOCH ZE'EVI
Chanoch Ze'evi is a director and producer of documentary films for television and the documentary film industry. In two decades of filmmaking, Mr. Ze'evi has addressed issues of conflict, reconciliation, and the social and political circumstances that define identity. His films are intended to forge paths and build bridges between opposing groups and cultures.
Mr. Ze'evi is founder and owner of "Maya Productions", an Israeli production company that specializes in documentary films for local and foreign audiences. Many of the company's projects have been produced in collaboration with television stations in Israel, the United States, and Europe.
IDFA 2011〡THESSALONIKI 2012〡DOKFEST MUNICH 2012〡DOC EDGE NEW ZEALAND 2012〡VILNIUS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL 2012〡WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL 2012〡SANTA FE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2012
- New York Times
"[A] thoughtful and affecting documentary... his [Ze'evi's] compassion for his subjects is clear, and their straightforward testimony is provocative."
- Los Angeles Times
"A haunting addition to the Holocaust film canon. Few will be unmoved by this film’s subjects."
- The Hollywood Reporter
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