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Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution [DVD]


Price: £4.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution [DVD] + The Nazis - A Warning From History [DVD]
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Product details

  • Producers: Laurence Rees
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Feb 2005
  • Run Time: 285 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006FNXNA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,771 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Auschwitz has a unique place in history. It is where the largest mass murder ever recorded occurred. It is hard to grasp how and why such a chilling place existed. This untold story of Auschwitz marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp.

"We need to make an attempt to understand how and why such horrors happened if we are ever to be able to stop them occurring again." Laurence Rees

Written and produced by BAFTA Award winning producer Laurence Rees, and using fresh new research, Auschwitz offers a unique perspective on the camp in which more than one million people were ruthlessly murdered.

The series follows the trail of evil from the very first origins of Auschwitz as a place to hold Polish political prisoners, through the Nazi solution for what they called 'the Jewish problem', to the development of the camp as a mechanised factory for mass murder. It interweaves exceptional new testimony from camp survivors and members of the SS with archive footage and drama reconstructions of some of the key decision-making moments.

The series is the result of three years of in-depth research, drawing on the close involvement of the world experts on the period. It is based on nearly 100 interviews with survivors and perpetrators, many of whom are speaking in detail for the first time.

Sensitively shot drama sequences, filmed on location using German and Polish actors, bring recently discovered documents to life on screen, whilst specially commissioned computer images give a historically accurate view of Auschwitz-Birkenau at all its many stages.

The computer animated images are based on plans from the Auschwitz construction office, which were captured after the war, eye-witness testimony and aerial photos.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

402 of 411 people found the following review helpful By Reader on 26 April 2006
Format: DVD
Many documentaries exist regarding the concentration and extermination camps but not many have Sir Ian Kershaw as the script supervisor. To have the world's authority on the Nazi state work on such a project speaks volumes for its quality.

This 6 part series focusses on the emergence of Auschwitz as a detention centre for political prisoners and eventually its transformation as a killing centre for the Jews of eastern europe. It's flawless in its design and presentations. Even the music used at times, for me in particular, the Symphony of Sorrowful songs, really hit home the gravity of the whole thing.

The series used computer technology to recreate the gas chambers and crematoria with striking accuracy. These reconstructions are based around documents only recently found. This part in particular I found fascinating. It is one thing to look at maps of Auschwitz in books, but quite another to be taken on a virtual tour down dimly lit corridors to a huge gas chamber.

Interviews are given from a huge variety of people ranging from SS guards who (allegedly) did not like working at Auschwitz, Polish prisoners, Jewish prisoners, Slovakian guards, gypsies and Soviet prisoners.

Some of the stories the people interviewed tell are genuinly moving, such as the story of the SS guard who fell in love with a Jewish woman (interviewed) and his determination to save her sister for her but unfortunatly could not save the children. The Jewsih woman expresses that she hated the guard but eventually admits she loved him for what he did and gave evidence on his defence at his post war trial.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By M. Pope on 23 Jan 2006
Format: DVD
Although I read it second hand, one of the characters in Dante's Inferno is berated for watching two people argue for too long. The problem with evil is that we are often more fascinated with it that the goodness in human nature. However, Auschwitz presents a compelling view not merely of the evil of those who so demonize the other as to show no compassion, but also what such inhumane treatment does to those who have to endure it, and the schizophrenic nature of those who perpetrate such deeds and then happily return home to play with children.
This documentary is part reconstruction, part interview. The computer reconstructions are excellent, the historical reconstructions helpful. Benefitting from recently discovered documents, the series reconstructs the final solution in chilling detail. As John Raulston Saul comments in his book Voltaire's Bastards, it amply illustrates what happens when reason (in this case the logical approach to the final solution with the use of IBM punch cards, methodically planned death machinery, etc) detached from the other human faculties leads to monsterous behaviour. The Auschwitz commandant is shown playing with his kids. He is human, he is real, and yet he can be a monster because Jews are less than human to him. The largely unrepentant nature of former SS guards is no less disturbing, nor are the stories of some of the things that those who suffered did to each other. The dehumanisers dehumanised their victims.
We dare not stare too long lest our fascination be macabre, focussing too much on the mechanics as the Nazis did. It is more a 'lest we forget'view of history. Genocide has continued to occur, happening even as I write. Auschwitz reminds us why we must not tolerate it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on 30 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
Laurence Rees is one of the BBC's outstanding historical documentary producers and one of his principal interests is the havoc wrought in Europe by Hitler and his henchmen. Ten years ago, he gave us the six-part series "The Nazis, A Warning from History". This series, homing in on one aspect of Nazism, was broadcast on the BBC around the time of the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz' liberation by the Red Army in January 1945. When it was broadcast I was unable to tear myself away from the screen and I seized a copy of the 2-DVD set as soon as I saw it in the shops.

The series mixes actual footage, interviews with victims and perpetrators and computer generated images of the two main camps (the "administration centre" at the confluence of the Sola and Vistula rivers in Auschwitz itself and the later Auschwitz-Birkenau some 3km away, where most of the mass murder took place).

Rees, ably supported by series consultant Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, traces the story of Auschwitz from its beginnings in April 1940 to its liberation in January 1945. They show how its development was a reaction to different Nazi priorities as World War II progressed. It was only after the infamous Wannsee conference in January 1942 that it developed as an extermination camp, but throughout its life it was a centre for Polish political prisoners, Russian prisoners of war and only later did it become a death camp as well.

It is one thing to watch old, blurred black and white pictures and scratched films, but quite another to follow a CGI image through the dimly-lit changing rooms into an underground gas chamber, one of the four that were the final destination for over a million victims of Auschwitz.
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