Director: Mathew Shoychet
Screenplay: Ricki Gurwitz
Running Time: 75 min
BBFC Certificate: 12
“The Accountant of Auschwitz” is the nickname for former SS officer Oskar Groning, on trial in this documentary at the age of 94, charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz in 1944. The old man who struggles into court with the help of a walking frame generated extreme responses as he faces his former victims in court.
In this harrowing viewing experience Oskar Groning is one of the oldest former SS officers to be tried for his part in the murder of thousands of Jewish people. The documentary states that out of the 6,500 SS guards at Auschwitz, only 49 were prosecuted in West Germany. Many of the lawyers and judges writing the new legal code were themselves former Nazis, in a country which wanted to move on and leave the horrors of war behind.
Seventy years after the events the legal system has changed and in doing so has led to scrutinization of previous findings and examination of new information. This has meant that the actions of further Nazi guards can be explored, which has brought Groning under the spot light, The accountant of Auschwitz was twenty one when he was responsible for collecting the personal belongings of prisoners destined for Auschwitz.
Auschwitz Survivor Bill Glied
The accountant of Auschwitz follows the prosecution of the last living Nazi war criminal and in doing so raises a raft of moral issues. During the duration of the film, the trial of another SS guard John Demjanjuk is also explored and we find out that Groning appeared on a BBC documentary, an action which led to his prosecution. There are interviews with historians and lawyers opening difficult questions, which are explored from different perspectives ultimately leaving many questions unanswered but importantly reminding the viewer that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Benjamin Ferencz: Former Nuremberg prosecutor and advocate for global justice
Signature Entertainment presents The Accountant of Auschwitz on DVD and Digital on 15th April 2019.
The high quality disc I reviewed, without any extras, provided a valuable insight into the darkest of subjects creating an extremely thought provoking experience.