The Commandant’s Shadow

19:30 Mon 5th Aug

19:30 Thu 22nd Aug

Director: Daniela Volker

Cast: Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hoess, Hans-Jürgen Höss

From Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Documentary Films comes filmmaker Daniela Völker’s timely and poignant documentary “The Commandant’s Shadow,” which follows Hans Jürgen Höss, the 87-year-old son of Rudolf Höss, as he faces his father’s terrible legacy for the first time. His father was the Camp Commandant of Auschwitz and masterminded the murder of over a million Jews; the life of Höss and his family was recently fictionalized in the Academy Award-winning “The Zone of Interest.” Now, “The Commandant’s Shadow” tells the story of the real people who lived on site at Höss’s death camp.

While Hans Jurgen Höss enjoyed a happy childhood in the family villa at Auschwitz, Jewish prisoner Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was trying to survive the notorious concentration camp. At the heart of this film is the historic and inspiring moment – eight decades later – when the two come face-to-face. This is the first time the descendant of a major war criminal meets a survivor in such a private and intimate setting, Anita’s London living room. Together with their children, Kai Höss and Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, the four protagonists explore their very different hereditary burdens.

The film features original excerpts of Rudolf Höss’ long-forgotten autobiography, written shortly before his execution. His words are the ultimate proof of what really happened at Auschwitz, documented by the perpetrator himself, countering denial and ignorance of the Holocaust.

This once-in-a-lifetime feature-length documentary explores the relationships of a mother and her daughter, a father and his son, and the long shadows cast by the crimes that impact generations. It raises questions about love, guilt, and forgiveness, but is ultimately a much needed story of hope, acceptance, and compassion.

In the wake of the atrocities of October 7th – and at a time when antisemitism has reached a level not seen since the Holocaust – “The Commandant’s Shadow” is a stark reminder that there can be no reconciliation without a true and honest reckoning of the past. Only then can we hope to avoid repeating history and build a better future.

2024 / 103 mins

Language: English/German

BBFC Advice: Holocaust theme, racism, images of real dead bodies

All screenings for The Commandant’s Shadow at Saffron Screen

19:30 Mon 5th Aug

19:30 Thu 22nd Aug