Review: ‘What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy’, A Look Inside A Truly Thought-Provoking Narrative

What Our Fathers Did poster

Imagine your father, the man you see him as, the loving memories you shared with him. Now imagine that same man when someone tells you that he had taken part in one of the worst genocides in history. Would it change your view of him? Would you hate him? Would you still love him? Niklas Frank and Horst Von Wächter had to ask themselves these questions about their fathers, and through a harsh walk into the past they both ended up with different answers. What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy is the thought-provoking documentary of these two men and their closer look into their fathers’ pasts. From the screenwriting and narrative of international lawyer Philippe Sands, comes a complicated and emotional look into the lives of two men who grew up with a broken sense of normality.

Philippe Sands had family that was greatly affected during the Holocaust, and due to this deep family connection he wanted to make this participatory-style documentary to gain a closer look at the views of the children on the other side of the war. In 2012 he met Niklas Frank and Horst Von Wächter. Niklas and Horst had grown up as friends, who had both been brought up in Nazi families. However despite their similarities in households, their views of their fathers varied greatly. Niklas knew that his father loved Hitler more than his family. His upbringing involved little to no love from his parents and was mainly raised by a nanny, which resulted in him not having any deep connections with his father. From the beginning he knew that his father was a monster and was at peace knowing that he was tried and punished for his sins. Horst was different. His father found refuge and was never tried for his crimes, which in Horst’s eyes meant that there was no proof claiming that he really did any of those ungodly things during the war. He had good memories of his father, and believed that his father was not responsible for these crimes and if anything the system was to blame. His view points nettled both Niklas and Philippe, who both struggled to understand how Horst could not see the monster his father truly was.

What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy is a phenomenal documentary. With that said, the film has a heavy story, and can be hard to watch at times. In the beginning of the film, Philippe Sands did a relatively decent job talking openly with the subjects without constantly criticizing them for what happened to his own family, however as the film moved on, his stance and manner in asking questions changed. The film carries such a powerful message, if you have a deep connection or interest with this part of our world’s history, then I highly recommend seeing this film. What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy has a limited release on November 6th. 

4 out of 5 Stars. 

Directed by DAVID EVANS





Leave a Reply