Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades

Michael Prazan’s shattering documentary meticulously details the Nazi killing squads charged with destroying entire Jewish populations in occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. The film’s interviews (some secretly taped) with the innocent as well as the terribly guilty, along with insights by scholars, and long takes of former ghettos and execution squads now overgrown with lush vegetation will invite comparisons with Claude Lanzmann’s epic Holocaust document, Shoah. But Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades recreates this terrifying period when “good and evil were reversed” with previously unseen archival footage, much of it in color, shot as home movies by the Germans themselves. This mosaic of pure hate has a startling immediacy that moves it well beyond simple historical document. Divided by an intermission into two parts—“The Mass Graves (1941-1942)” and “The Funeral Pyres (1942-1945)”—it’s unlikely that a lengthy film with this difficult subject matter will find its way to television or even to most film festivals, so this one-time screening may be the only opportunity to see a work that will leave no viewer unchanged.
w/English Subtitle
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