The Silence After the End
Good Morning, we will continue with Holocaust documentaries. The documentary is called The Silence After the End. The narrator starts with a visit to Auschwitz and the testimony of the prisoners inside.
The Nazis tried to cover up their crimes. When the Soviets entered Auschwitz, they found four crematoriums blown up. The Nazis then massacred the people who ran the crematoriums. However, they did not get them all. Also discovered were manuscripts written by the crematorium operators. These witnesses and manuscripts would be a testimony to what happened in Auschwitz.
The crematorium operators signed their names to the manuscript and the viewer gets to know each of the men who operated the crematorium. They all were shipped to Auschwitz. Then they recall what happened when they go Auschwitz. There was an immediate selection. There were 400 selected and they made their way to Birkenau. Another 500 in another transport were sent to Birkenau.
Once inside, there was another selection. All had to be young men and picked for the physical strength. The Nazis were looking for people to work “in the rubber factory.” They were assigned to block 14. This block was destined to work in the crematorium. The men who worked in the crematorium lasted four months before they were executed. Each team was cleaned up by the next team. The men had no idea what they were in for.
About 8,000 corpses could be burned a day in four crematoriums. Eventually, a fifth crematorium was built. They worked in two shifts destroying the bodies of the victims. The victim seemed to sense their pending doom. Some wanted to have poison before they faced their deaths. They knew they were going to die.
The crematorium workers testify about the people who came in through the showers. One particular testimony came out, they did not want to tell the women to undress because their clothes provided their protection and were a sign of life. They did not encourage the women to undress quickly. The women knew that the crematorium workers were victims themselves. They testified their pain to the men because they were still alive. The women wanted to know if their men were alive or if they were dead. If they are dead, then there is no point in living. They ask about death and if it will come quickly.
An eight-year-old girl is undressing her one-year-old brother. A worker tries to help, but he is shouted at. Her brother will die in her arms with her. Then the Nazis come and then hurry the women to undress. There is nowhere to hide for the women. Then the command goes out. The door is closed. A car marked with the Red Cross markings is seen. The Nazi comes out and then pours the gas into the showers. The chamber fills and within five minutes kills everyone.
The men who go into the chambers after the victims are gas go into the chamber. They wear gas masks. What they see, horrifies them. The corpses are piled on top of another. Everyone was trying to get higher up in the chamber where the gas could not get them. The babies and the children were on the bottom. It is a sight that they will not forget. The crematorium workers sometimes recognized their family members…
The filmmaker brought in the stories of the different survivors. The stories come together with images from Auschwitz. This one is the most somber documentary I have watched on the Holocaust. The silence between each of the stories gets to you. This would be an excellent documentary to show for a high school classroom on the Holocaust.
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