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The Auschwitz Report Review: A Deeply Effective & Intense Historical Drama

The film, directed by Peter Bebjak from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jozef Pastéka and Tomás Bombík, is urgent, effective, and also deeply painful.

When it comes to most World War II dramas, the focus is typically on the soldiers fighting in the war. And while there have also been plenty of films showcasing the horror at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, The Auschwitz Report offers an oft-overlooked angle as it showcases the real-life escape of Alfréd Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba (previously known as Walter Rosenberg), who would go on to write the Vrba-Wetzler Report, which detailed exactly what was going on at the death camp. The film, directed by Peter Bebjak from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jozef Pastéka and Tomás Bombík, is urgent, effective, and also deeply painful.

The historical drama follows Wetzler (Noel Czuczor) and Vrba (Peter Ondrejicka), Slovak Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz who took note of all the cruelty carried out by the Nazis, who are estimated to have killed one million people at the death camp. The film documents their plan to escape, but they face a dilemma after their absence is noticed by Nazi commanders. Trapped beneath slabs of wood for days as the commanders take out their anger on the other prisoners — whipping them, leaving them out in the cold, burying them in the dirt with only their heads above ground, starving them — Wetzler and Vrba bide their time until it is safe to leave in the hopes that their escape will urge the resistance to stop what’s going on.

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