‘Holocaust films’ refer to many different types – or genres - of films including feature films, documentaries and survivor testimonies.
UK Jewish Film suggests a selection of films to stimulate discussion about this period in history. Before you watch any of these films, it is good to be aware of what expectations we may have of different genres.
As you watch a film set during the Holocaust, you should be mindful of the choices made by the filmmakers. Try to think about the following ideas as you watch the film:
- What basic ingredients do you expect from a documentary film?
- How do you think a documentary film will differ from a feature film?
- What are the opportunities and challenges in creating a film based on a true story?
Choose a film to explore in detail. Each is linked to materials to promote discussion, analysis and understanding. Click on the poster image to preview the trailer.
A Film Unfinished
- [88 mins | German; Hebrew; Yiddish; Polish; English] A documentary about an unfinished film which portrays the people behind and before the camera in the Warsaw Ghetto, exposing the extent of the cinematic manipulation and challenging how we look at historic images. Contains some graphic images.
- 145 mins | Polish; German] – based on the true story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and petty thief in Nazi-occupied Lvov in Poland, he stumbles upon a group of Jews in the sewers who he agrees to hide for a price. Contains sexual activity and strong language.
- [112 mins | German; Russian;Polish based on the 1989 autobiography of Solomon Perel, the films portrays the story of a boy who tries to hide he is Jewish by joining the
Once In A Lifetime
- [105 mins | French] – a story about a group of school children whose lives are changed forever when their teacher enters them into a high school competition on the theme of “children in Nazi concentration camps”. Contains some strong language.
- [120 mins | German] A dramatisation of the final days of Sophie Scholl, one of the most famous members of The White Rose, the German anti-Nazi resistance movement.
- [96 mins | English] - The story of Sir Nicholas Winton and his remarkable rescue mission of hundreds of children from Czechoslovakia on the Kindertransport.
No Place On Earth
- [83 mins | English, German & Yiddish] - A cave exploration in Ukraine leads to the unearthing of a story of Holocaust survivors who once found shelter in the same cave.
Secrets of War
- [95 mins | Dutch ] During World War Two, the friendship of two boys is at risk when a girl tells a very personal secret to only one of them.
Discussion materials about these short films can be found here
Call Her Lotte [17 mins | German] – Set in 1930s Munich, a film drama about the power of friendship between two young women Maria and Lea. In the wake of the dictatorship of Hitler and the Nazis, their friendship is stronger than the terror and the fear.
One Day Crossing [25 mins | Hungarian] - Set in Hungary in 1944, it tells the story of a Jewish family pretending to be Christian in order to survive the brutality of the Nazi collaborators the Arrow Cross.
Silence [11 mins | English] - An animated film about the story of survivor Tana Ross, a child survivor of Theresienstadt (Terezin) who, hidden by her grandmother during the war, escaped Auschwitz.
Pigeon [11 mins | English] - Set in Remies, France in 1941 and based on a true story of courage the film is set on a train station where a Jewish man with false identity papers waits for a train. Study Guide