This documentary follows a Holocaust survivor in 1965 on an emotional pilgrimage to Bergen Belsen, the last of 11 concentration camps where he was held by the Nazis. He and 30 other former Jewish inmates travel through the new Germany. Scenes still vivid in his mind are recalled in flashback. The memorandum of the title refers to Hitler's memo offering a "final solution" to the "Jewish problem."
Donald made this film because he felt it was important that someone, other than a Jew, tell the story. But that wasn't the only reason.
Donald's wife, Brigitta is German and she used to tell this story about how on their first date, Donald told her straight out that he hated Germans, hated what they'd done. The hatred stemmed from his horror over the Holocaust.
He needed to investigate the past and the more he looked into what happened, the more he realized these were ordinary human beings – ordinary, banal human beings. These were people who in no way had any interest in taking responsibility for their bloodless kills. And that's what's so special about the film – there are no heroes and very few villains.Adam Symansky
From the playlist: Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller.
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Memorandum, John Spotton & Donald Brittain, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
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