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What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy 

Wednesday, Nov 11 2015
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There's been a lot of reckoning in arthouses lately about the children of Nazis, from the dramaLabyrinth of Liesto David Evans' documentary What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy.Legacylooks at three men: human rights lawyer Phillippe Sands, whose grandfather was the only of his 80 family members still alive in the Ukrainian city of Lviv after the Holocaust; and Niklas Frank and Horst von Wächter, whose fathers, Hans and Otto, were high-ranking Nazi officials responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews. The sad-eyed Niklas is visibly ashamed of being the son of "The Butcher of Poland," but while Horst allows that his father was a Nazi, he refuses to admit that Otto was responsible for any atrocities; he didn't pull the triggers himself, so who knows, maybe he was a nice guy who wanted to help the Jews. Much of the film is given over to uncomfortable silences between the three men, particularly as Horst is confronted with truths about his father he refuses to accept, even while standing on the graves of people Otto ordered to be killed. Most troublingly, images of Nazis in modern Ukraine inWhat Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacysuggests that not being able to acknowledge that history paves the way for it to happen again.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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