A Great, Important Film, Based on Real People in Nazi Germany's T4 Programme to Kill the Disabled
- Fog in August review by PV
This is a superb film and SO important. Many WWII films have been made about how the Nazis killed Jews, one of two about how they killed homosexuals or Roma/Sinti in camps. This is the only one I know to focus solely on the Nazi T4 programme to kill disabled people and the mentally ill, plus vangrants, alcoholics and other 'shirkers' and to use their words - 'useless eaters'.
The main characters really existed. The boy Ernst Lossa was real, the son of a Yenish - a cultural group really and language in Germany of people who were mostly homeless/pedlars so did not fit in with Nazi Germany and were sent to camps with other vagrants, like Roma and their subgroup the Sinti.
Wait until the end of the film to see what happened to the real people. The main actors are great in this and, rather spookily, both the hospital director and the boy are the spitting image of the REAL director and the real Lossa (I searched for information online).
Genuinely shocking in parts - what is perhaps most shocking is that the killing went on for a month and a half after the end of the war. SOmewhere between 200 and 250,000 people were murdered in the T4 programme - yes the diabled and mentally ill, but also tramps, vagrants, alcoholics, the homeless and eccentrics. Ironically that could apply to Nazis themselves, as Hitler was considered a real oddball when he served in WWI, and Goring was in a mental home twice in the 1930s for breakdowns and drug addictions. The Nazis as per usual full of contradictions, Goebbels had a club foot too, so was disabled!
The only document on which Hitler;s signature approved an order to kill is a T4 one from 1938 too.
Essential watching, 5 stars. A shame this film is not more well know. ALL teenagers esp should watch it.
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Totally horrific, shocking, traumatic, visceral, inspiring & essential but not easy viewing
- Fog in August review by TB
This is an unbearable watch. As in, a couple of times I had to pause & come back to it. It shows in unflinching & clear detail the horrific mass slaughter of disabled & "problem" (in the Nazis eyes) people inside sanatoriums in Germany. The protagonist, based on a real boy sent to one of these institutions, is fiercely willed & free spirited, as well as highly intelligent. He very quickly sees what is happening & then works to do all he can to disrupt the evil at work.
But for me, the worst & most traumatic element of the whole film, which I also have no doubt is true, is the portrayal of the nurses & medical staff. The doctor in charge, Dr. Veithausen, is a "lovely," softly spoken man who seems to be every inch the caring doctor who you would trust to help you. He is popular with the patients & even plays games with the more boisterous children. Then he calmly goes into his office & researches the quickest ways to slaughter the individuals in his care.
And for me, this is the absolute crux of this film: whenever you mention Nazi to someone, they will almost certainly picture in their mind the most sadistic, demonic & evil looking person imaginable. However, the reality is that these were mostly completely "ordinary" people who in many cases believed fervently in what they were doing. And when that hits home in the way this film makes you feel, it is horrible to just sit there watching this barbarity committed by smiling & gentle people who you'd pass on the street without a second glance.
Essential viewing but highly upsetting
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