Sunday | 14.07.24

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The Commandant's Shadow
Dir.: Daniela Volker | 110 minutes

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UK 2024 | 110 minutes | English, German | Hebrew subtitles

Two lives. Two stories. One wall that divided them. Witness the historic moment over 70 years after the Holocaust when the son of the Commandant of Auschwitz meets an incredible survivor. Daniela Völker’s timely and poignant documentary “The Commandant’s Shadow,” which follows Hans Jürgen Höss, the 87-year-old son of Rudolf Höss, as he faces his father’s terrible legacy for the first time. His father was the Camp Commandant of Auschwitz and masterminded the murder of over a million Jews. “The Commandant’s Shadow” tells the story of the real people who lived on site at Höss’s death camp.

While Hans Jurgen Höss enjoyed a happy childhood in the family villa at Auschwitz, Jewish prisoner Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was trying to survive the notorious concentration camp. At the heart of this film is the historic and inspiring moment – eight decades later – when the two come face-to-face. This is the first time the descendant of a major war criminal meets a survivor in such a private and intimate setting, Anita’s London living room. Together with their children, Kai Höss and Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, the four protagonists explore their very different hereditary burdens.

This once-in-a-lifetime feature-length documentary explores the relationships of a mother and her daughter, a father and his son, and the long shadows cast by the crimes that impact generations. It raises questions about love, guilt, and forgiveness, but is ultimately a much needed story of hope, acceptance, and compassion.