Today’s Holocaust Documentaries is called The Crimes of the Auschwitz Doctors.
The doctors were central to the Nazi’s plans. They started the forced sterilization of the undesirables. Then they would move onto the selection process. Eventually, they would perform medical experiments in the concentration camps. Auschwitz was central to the doctors' experiment. The doctors would select the people who would live or die. Then they would select people to experiment on. They aimed to prove the supremacy of the master race.
They wanted to multiply the Aryan race through these experiments. One doctor sent a letter to Himmler in regards to his experiments on sterilization. He recommended high doses of x-rays. He proved that the high doses destroyed the reproductive organs of males and females. He even said that it could be done without the subjects knowing about it. He even suggested that the subjects could be brought to a window, and while they were filling out forms they could be sterilized. In the end, there would be no need for mass deportations.
Eventually, there would be mass deportations and now the medical experiments would be performed in the camps. There was one woman’s block in the men’s camp at Auschwitz. The windows in this camp were boarded up, cutting the people off from the outside world. Nobody knew what would go on in this section of the camp. There were 400 women packed in this barracks. One letter recalls the women were surviving and not living.
These 400 women would be subjected to surgical experiments. All were Jewish women from diverse nationalities. The doctors selected these women and directed them to block 10. Each doctor had their preference for the women. The women did not know what sort of tests they were in for. Once they were done with the experiment, they would be executed.
There was a group of scientists who oversaw the block. The cruelest experiment was sterilization with an x-ray. This experiment was performed on young girls. They were taken to the women’s camp in Birkenau where the machines were located. One method required x-rays. Another method was surgical. The doctors who performed the surgeries were prisoners themselves.
These surgeries were painful for the girls. They were in constant pain due to surgeries or burns. They would throw up and could not eat. These wounds would never heal. There were deaths and complications after the surgeries. Sometimes they would die quickly due to the surgery. The operations continued and were eventually taken away. These women were never heard from again.
The men were also experimented on. They were also sterilized. One doctor was horrified that sterilization was being done. The doctors ordered that the temperatures and changes should be noted. They did not know what was being done to the men. Eventually, the camp observers realized what was being done to the men. A Polish surgeon would perform these operations on the men. He was a brutal surgeon.
Dr. Mengele was the most famous doctor from Auschwitz. He had a dissection room that is well equipped and ready for use. This is where additional experiments will take place…
This is a good look at the human experiments that the Nazis doctors performed. The Crimes of the Auschwitz doctors weaves in footage from Auschwitz with the testimony of the doctors and survivors of these procedures. The way the producers use the testimonies would make it easy to use clips from this documentary for a classroom. Each testimony is about 3-5 minutes long so if you had a lecture on the Holocaust you can easily squeeze a clip in. This documentary would be good for research purposes for independent study students.
Good morning, we will continue January and the Holocaust with a DW Documentary about the Warsaw Ghetto. This is a German-produced documentary.
This documentary features Warsaw Ghetto survivors and citizens who remember the ghetto. A Polish businessman risked his life to film the conditions of the ghetto. The Warsaw story starts with the war and how the citizens react. The citizens remember the war and how it came. The terror began right away for the citizens. What was the Nazi’s plan for the citizens of Warsaw?
This documentary starts with the stories of the residents of Warsaw. They remember when war came to Warsaw. The Nazis planned on destroying Warsaw. However, these plans were not realized. However, the plans were discovered and an artist did a reconstruction of the city. It was going to be a German city. The Jewish and Polish populations were to be exterminated.
At the start, the Nazis planned on establishing two Jewish housing areas. That was reduced to one area. Before the war, over 1.2 million people lived in Warsaw and it was home to the second-largest Jewish population. The Jewish population was 1/3 of the city and they were integrated into city life. When the Ghetto was created, it divided the population for the first time in centuries.
One ghetto resident did not think she was Jewish and questioned why she had to move from her home. When they arrived in the ghetto they were greeted with horrible posters. It left this girl humiliated. She wondered why this was happening. The Nazis established a Jewish quarter, and their propaganda indicates it was created “to prevent the spread of disease.”
In 1941, a film was created featuring the Warsaw Ghetto. It was on 8 mm film. This film was featured through the documentary. All known film was created by the Nazis. However, this film was created by a Pole and was the first of its kind ever made. He had a pass to the ghetto. Here he would film the conditions. This Pole was risking his life filming the ghetto.
One Ghetto survivor recalls how the Polish population who lived in the Ghetto had to move out and the Jews who lived outside the ghetto moved in. People had to carry all their worldly possession on carts. Walls and fences were created to surround the ghetto. People could only leave and get into the ghetto with special passes.
The ghetto residents looked for contacts outside the ghetto to get food. One Warsaw citizen recalls how his father smuggled food into the ghetto. His contact suddenly disappeared and they never knew why. The survivor recalls how her sister and her father just disappeared one day. She never knew why. These contacts would smuggle food into the ghetto. Someone who had money could easily get supplies. Others had Polish contacts outside the ghetto.
The City center ceased to function normally. The ghetto was in the heart of the city. The Nazis carved out their section and did it for “their protection.” The Polish citizens would have to do with the rest. Eventually, the Nazis shipped more Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto. People were crammed into the ghetto. The individual would disappear in the crowd.
To continue to learn more about the Warsaw Ghetto, watch the rest of this documentary.
If you need a documentary on the Warsaw Ghetto, this documentary would be a good start. It is a slow build-up to how the Ghetto was created, the living conditions, and how it was cleared out. This documentary did a good job incorporating the survivors and primary source documents about the Warsaw Ghetto.
Returning to Auschwitz is the story about Kitty Hart-Moxon, a Polish English girl who was sent to Auschwitz. She survived in the camp for two years. After liberation, she made her way to England. After 34 years she returned to Auschwitz. She grew up in Southern Poland with a mother and father and a brother. They managed to escape the Nazis several times. Unfortunately, the Nazis caught up with them and it would change her life.
She was a child when the Nazis invaded Lublin, where they were living. It quickly dawned on her that the Nazis were out to kill people like her. Her brother fled to Russia. He attempted to reach England. Her grandmother was seized and killed. Her father arranged new Aryan identities for his daughter and wife. He put them on the train to the west. They were part of a forced labor group.
The Gestapo were tipped off about potential Jews in the work party. Kitty remembers the day when the Gestapo came. The leader looked like an ordinary man but the way he spoke, she knew she had to prepare to die. The Gestapo were scared them. Kitty felt relieved that she was not to die. Kitty and her mother were sent to Dresden to another prisoner. Then she was transported back to Poland and Auschwitz. Kitty was 16 when she was sent to Auschwitz. Her family had been on the run for 12 years.
Kitty admits to being ready for Auschwitz the first time. She was detached from everything at that point in the war. Now visiting the site again, she was unsure that she will be ready. Kitty goes back to Auschwitz to show her son and feels that it is her duty to go back. When she is gone, her son will be able to tell Kitty’s story.
Kitty and her son arrive in Auschwitz. She is already nervous about return and struggles to get her bearings. She encourages her son to bring his children to the site. This is a duty that she does not take lightly. Eventually, she starts telling her story to her son. There was a particular glow to the night sky when she arrived at the camp. She recalls the scent of roasted meat as well. She helped build the railroads that lead to Auschwitz. She carried the cement for the railroad. She was bitten by the dogs. She begins with the arrival and the selection process. Kitty recalls being given uniforms, just one layer.
Kitty was interned in Camp B1. She wants to look for a way into the camp. They arrive at the camp and Kitty describes the selections. One way was the way to live and the other way was to die, and it was where the crematoriums were at. It was night when Kitty entered the camp. Everything was taken from her and she was shaved. She was smeared with green fluid and she was given Russian prisoner of war uniforms. There were Russians that were shot before she arrived.
She looked for block 25 because it was significant. It was her block and she was there for months and months. She hid there for months and months. Everything time she went into the block she was beaten and got her bread ration. You have to admire Kitty’s determination to tell her story to her son.
This is an older documentary about one survivor’s return to Auschwitz. This would be a good documentary to show at the end of the Holocaust Unit because it is about the return of a survivor to Auschwitz. It is the raw story of a woman’s survival in the Holocaust.
Today, we will explore Holocaust survivor stories from Ukraine in this blog.
This film was created by Sergey Bukosky and several Ukrainian students record Ukrainian Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. These survivors escaped execution. Others rescued friends and neighbors. These students recorded the survivors’ stories for the documentaries. These testimonials were recorded from 1994-1998. It was started after the filmmaker’s encounter with a book on the Baba Yar massacre.
The survivors begin their stories from the beginnings of the Soviet occupation. There were no idlers in Ukraine. Everyone had a job. However, the Soviets offended the Jewish population. They called them the word for Russian Jews and not the correct Ukrainian term. One family celebrated Stalin’s accession. They put a picture of Stalin in their stationery store.
These were people who lived where the individual did not exist, the country came first. They were members of a big family. There were no different characteristics between the people. However, in reality, there was the fifth line on peoples’ files, and this indicated ethnicity.
The survivors told stories of their childhood. Some played typical pranks on the families. One family had their uncle took for forced labor and they lost the family story. One little girl was punished for using a bad word when she saw a Jewish little boy. Even today, the Ukrainians do not understand what made the Jews different. A student working on transcribing the interviews said she did not want to be Jewish.
In 1942, the war came to Ukraine. One survivor recalls being unable to tell the difference between artillery fire and a storm. Motorcycles sped down the streets. These motorcycles carried Germans and they had guns. Papers were flying from the motorcycles and were carried on the wind. Everyone was rushing when war was declared. One child was up in a tree picking cherries. Something exploded above them and threw them from the trees. He was with his friend and his friend was killed as a result of the explosion. That child grew up that day.
When the war came to Ukraine, they immediately began executing Jews. One child remembered seeing the trucks where Jews were being carried. A child was crying in the truck. They stopped the truck and took the baby out and killed the baby. The Germans went marching from door to door looking for Jews. One survivor recalls three ditches being dug and nobody knew how they were dug or who dug them. It all went fast.
One mother managed to get her family to the back of the line. The Germans were hitting people in the back of the head and then the machine gun fire went off. They were using tracer bullets to kill people. One survivor tried to get as low to the ground as she could. She was determined to crawl away. She had her sister by the hand and they managed to escape from the fire. This survivor recalls a woman singing a Yiddish song and she thought this woman lost her mind. Then she remembers a man in black shouting “God, where are you?” This survivor crawled to the edge of the cliff and a German was coming in her direction. She must have blended in because of her light hair and played dead. He never found her and it was then she was able to get away.
As a student, the focus was always on Poland, Germany, and Anne Frank. I have never heard about how Ukrainian Jews suffered. This is a different documentary. I would stay strange because it blended both the Holocaust and the Soviet times. It was survivors telling their stories. It would serve as a good backup if you cannot find any additional documentaries on the Holocaust. This documentary is told in Ukrainian with English subtitles.
Prisoner Number A26188 Henia Bryer is a documentary about a Holocaust survivor. Her niece, Lisa Bryer made the documentary. Henia Bryer came from a well-to-do middle-class family from Poland. She lost her father, sister, and brother in the Holocaust. She survived four concentration camps and the Death March. She tells her story in this documentary.
Bryer remembers when the German Army invaded Poland. The people were in a panic and within 14 days the Nazis occupied Poland. The propaganda machine immediately began. They put up speakers around town and the campaign was started. Henia remembers the blue and white armbands they had to wear. Bryer did not look like a Jewish girl. Even the German soldiers questioned her as to why she was wearing the star.
In 1941 she and her family were sent to the Randon Ghetto. It was referred to as “the large ghetto,” but it was a small place. Ten people were confined to one room. The Nazis would randomly knock on doors and pull people out. The Nazis would shoot those people. Henia’s younger brother was taken away to a munitions factory. She never saw him again until after the war. He never talked about his experiences.
In 1942, 20,000 people were taken out of the ghetto. A majority of the people went straight to the death camps the others were shot. Henia immediately went to work. She had an abscess on her tooth that she had to get taken care of. The abscess burst because of the pressure was on it. That same day the Nazis shot everyone in the hospital. Her older brother was shot as well because he was physically disabled.
Her remaining family members were taken to a concentration camp. They were herded unto cattle trucks and were taken to Majdanek Concentration Camp outside of Lubin, Poland. They had one suitcase. They had to strip naked into the snow and were taken to the showers. They were given barely shoes and uniforms. It was cold.
They got a glimpse of the women SS. These women were cruel and full of hatred. Henia wondered where they found these women. There were four camps for the prisoners and then a fifth camp for the crematorium. Henia was then moved to Plazow after six weeks. Her mother was sent to another camp. In the Plazow camp, people were from Krakow. It was an enormous camp. This was the camp featured in Schindler’s List. The camp commander was portrayed exactly how he was in real life. If he did not like someone he would shoot them.
The women were divided into teams of ten and they had to pushcarts along the track to the quarry. It was a nearly impossible job. Elsa, the chief of the SS Women, came to the camp. She had the most steely eyes Henia recalled. She was worse than the men. She took particular delight in hurting children and “was not normal.” She was looking for domestic help and Henia was picked to be a domestic help. Henia thought she was picked because she did not look Jewish.
Henia talks about the escapes she made and how she survived each camp. She was sent to Auschwitz after Plazow. Her father was beaten to death. Her younger sister was sent to the gas chambers because she was young. Someone who worked for her father managed to get her clothing. This is a survivor’s tale of the Holocaust. It incorporates pictures and her survival tale.
This documentary would be an excellent addition to a Holocaust curriculum. I hope a teacher would consider showing this documentary in the classroom.
For January we are exploring documentaries on the Holocaust and today I will be reviewing The Secret Diary of the Holocaust documentary.
In 2005, a school notebook was discovered. It was written by a 14-year-old girl named Rutka Laskier. The diary was discovered in the floorboards of her home. She was dubbed the “Polish Anne Frank.” In here she recorded the last few months of her life in the ghetto of Bedzin. She wrote about the atrocities that she saw, the hunger, and the physical hardships she endured. This documentary tells Rutka’s through the eyes of her half-sister, Zahava Scherz.
The diary that Rutka wrote was kept hidden for 60 years. Her half-sister Zahava was not aware of Rutka’s existence until she was 14. She was looking through her family photo albums and discovered a picture of two children: her half-sister Rutka and her half-brother. It was a shock and surprise to her. Her father did not talk about the family that died in the Holocaust. So in Zahava’s mind, there would be no conversations about her half-sister.
That is until 2005 when the diary was discovered. When the diary was found, Zahava found herself going on a journey to discover her half-sister. The original handwritten diary is kept at the Yad Ysehm museum. Rutka’s diary provides a unique testimony about life in the ghetto. Menachem Lior was the scholar who found the diary. He was also a friend of Rutka’s.
Zahava was able to read a translation of the diary. She was able to hold the original diary. The diary covers three months from January and April 1943. Rutka was a veteran of the ghetto at 14 years old. Rutka’s diary provides vivid detail about the ghetto and the Nazi’s atrocities. It is the voice of a child becoming an adult. Menachem Loir, who works at the Yad Yshem museum, knew the diary was Rutka based on comments about a boy that was made in the diary. Rutka had a crush on Menachem’s friend.
Then Zahava makes her way to Poland to discover more about Rutka’s life. She grew up with no extended relatives and felt empty. So she decided to go to Poland to get to know this family that had been killed. She goes to Bedzin and sees the man who published the diary in Poland. He takes Zahava to the house where she hid the diary. During the war, the house was owned by a Polish family who was forced to move out. However, the family was allowed to check up on the house.
Stanislawa, a member of the family would be the one who looked over the house. She met Rutka and they became friends. On a tour of the house, Zahava sees where the diary was hidden. Rutka hid the diary between steps. Stanislawa had shown where Rutka could hide the diary and found it in the spot where Rutka hid it when the family returned to the house. Stanislawa treated it like her personal memory of Rutka and it was only by chance that the diary was discovered. As a thank you, Zahava gave Stanislawa a copy of the diary.
Zahava then tours a school in Benzin. The diary is now part of the Polish curriculum in Benzin. She discusses with the students about the diary. The students then read passages from the diary. Continue to watch this documentary to find out more about Rutka’s and Zahava’s story.
This is a fantastic documentary about the Holocaust. This one I would highly recommend showing to a history classroom, no matter what grade level. Zahava’s story about discovering her sister is very touching. There is no hesitation when it would come to show this documentary in a classroom. If I had a list of Holocaust documentaries to show, this one would be at the top of the list.
Good morning and good afternoon my readers, we will continue to explore stories from the Holocaust. In 1947, a Nazi officer was put on trial in Vilnius for his part in the Holocaust. Several survivors came forward to share their extraordinary stories. Historians have descended on Vilnius to scan the buildings that survived the labor camp this Nazi officer ran. Historians, survivors, and scientists come together to examine and scan the buildings to help determine where people were buried and how the people survived.
Karl Plagge was a Nazi officer who tried to save his Jewish workers. When World War II ended, he was put on trial for his part in the Holocaust. Surprisingly, several Jewish workers came forward to support him during the trial. The people were survived at the lengths Plagge went through to save his Jewish workers. They told their story about how Plagge helped them survive. Plagge employed 1,240 Jews and managed to keep them safe while the Nazis exterminated Lithuanian Jews.
Michael Good, an American doctor, discovered that his mother was saved by Plagge’s actions. He decided to investigate the story further. It was through his investigation that Plagge’s story was brought back to life. It was a surprising story. Plagge ran the labor camp in Vilnius. He created workshops and employed Jewish workers to save them. These workshops repaired vehicles. To help ensure quality, Plagge argued that families should be kept together. The workers would be more enthusiastic if they had their families.
The workers in his workshops were ordinary people. They were shopkeepers. They had no mechanical skills. Plagge certified them all as mechanics. Plagge eventually employed the women as clothing makers. He was the middle man between the Jewish workers and the SS. Sometimes his plan worked, sometimes it did not work.
Historians try to find out where a massacre of Jews took place in Vilnius. The historians drone the whole area to determine where the mass grave was. This is called non-invasive archelogy. It gives historians an idea of what the area looks like currently to determine differences in the surrounding area. Then they use ground-penetrating radar. What will the results show about the area the labor camp is in?
Karl Plagge was born in Darmstadt, Germany. He joined up with the military because it was a family tradition. Plagge fought during World War I and was a prisoner of war. During the 1920s, he suffered from ordinary German families through the deprivations. He wanted to be a doctor and heal people. However, in 1931 he joined up with the Nazi party. He believed that Hitler could change things and get the people employed. His membership in the Nazi party would lead him to Vilnius.
It was in Vilnius where Plagge’s eyes were opened to Nazi atrocities. It was here he decided to work against the Nazis. He was ashamed and saw unbelievable things. He came up with a plan to save Jewish families. A survivor of Plagge’s plan joins Good as they explore the former labor camp. Sidney Handler, was 9 when he moved into the labor camp. There were other children in the camp, however, he was not aware of any other child who survived. Good and Handler explore the buildings of the camp.
The Good Nazi is a surprising story to come out of the Holocaust. To learn about Plagge’s fate, continue to watch the documentary.
This is an excellent documentary to show in a history classroom during the World War II and Holocaust section of history class. This would be a good documentary to show in a science class too. There are several applications of science in this documentary.
January 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. So I will feature blogs about the Holocaust during January. I hope that these blogs will give teachers plenty of options for documentaries to show about the Holocaust.
Anne Frank’s Diary is the most famous in the world. Her parents had given her the diary for her birthday. She started to write in it. When her family went into hiding, she took the diary with her. This diary was discovered after the war. When it was published it became a worldwide sensation. It revealed the persecution of the Jews. It also revealed the lengths one family took to hide. Anne became a symbol for all the children that were killed in the Holocaust. When Anne started the diary could not have imagined the legacy she left behind.
The Frank Family lived in Germany. They lived quietly and raised their two daughters Margo and Anne. When Hitler came to power, life for German-Jewish families became hard. Jewish books were burned. They were attacked in the streets. The Jews were forced to wear the yellow star. Eventually, Jewish families were arrested. Once arrested they vanished. Nobody knew where they went. Families fled from Germany and the Frank family chose to move to Holland. Anne and her sister Margot adapted well to life in Holland. She was raised as a Dutch girl. She loved reading. She always got into trouble with her teachers.
Eva Schloss and her family lived in Austria when Hitler took over. Her family fled to Holland too when the Nazis took over. They were lucky to escape. Eva enjoyed Amsterdam. They could be a normal family. It was here that Anne and Eva would meet. Eva was a tomboy while Anne was interested in boys and movie stars. Anne helped Eva learn Dutch. Eva met Anne’s family too.
Many Jewish families thought they found a haven from the Nazis. During World War I, Holland was a neutral country. This meant that the Germans did not invade Holland during the war. World War II was different and Hitler invaded Holland. They were afraid about what was to come. The cycle of persecution began again. They could no longer attend Dutch schools. They had to wear the yellow star. They had yellow benches in the park. Young men were arrested in the streets and started to disappear. There were rumors of the Germans gassing the Jews. Life became hard for the Jewish families. In July 1942, Jewish families received a call-up notice. This call-up notice was a deportation notice for young people. They were going to be sent to Germany to work in the factories.
Margot Frank was one of the young people called up. After the Franks received the call-up notice they went into hiding. The Franks hid together in the annex with a second family. Eva and her family went into hiding as well. However, the Schloss family split up because nobody wanted to take in a whole family. Life in hiding was difficult for both families. Eventually, they would be betrayed.
To find out more about Anne and Eva continue to watch the documentary on YouTube.
This is a fantastic documentary to show in a history class dealing with the Holocaust. It is appropriate for a middle and high school classroom. The story’s pace is well done. Eva Schloss shares her memories of Anne, hiding, Otto Frank, and the aftermath of World War II. She also talks about the diary. She witnessed the rise of the diary as a piece of literature. This documentary would be a good addition to your classroom documentary arsenal.
You can access the YouTube video here.
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