"Genocide" (1982) presents a very good overview of the WWII Nazi atrocities committed against the Jewish people. The documentary begins with a recounting of the conditions in Europe that resulted in the rise of the Nazi party and a discussion of their hatred toward Jews and other peoples. The documentary moves on to describe how the Nazis began invading other countries and shipping the Jewish populations to ghettos and then the death camps. With narration by Orson Welles, the documentary covers a surprisingly large amount of material in under 90 minutes. Of course, with such breadth, it sometimes lacks detail, and there were numerous times when I wanted more information about specific events and so forth.
Along with the historical and political information, accounts from survivors are read by Elizabeth Taylor. These first-person testimonials are extremely moving, although Taylor's readings are often a bit overly dramatic. This issue is sometimes compounded by the score by Elmer Bernstein, which could have been more restrained. On the plus side, having such talent involved certainly lends the requisite gravitas. In addition, the story is told creatively with artwork and drawings, which allows needed respite from the use of video and photos, which are sometimes overwhelming. "Genocide" is put together very well and deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. I've seen quite a few documentaries over the years about the Holocaust, and although this one is flawed, it remains on of the best overviews and is extremely effective emotionally. Unfortunately, this fine documentary is no longer available from the manufacturer - hopefully it will be re-released again on dvd by another maker.