Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller. - A selection by Adam Symansky


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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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  • director
    John Spotton
    Donald Brittain
  • producer
    John Kemeny
  • script
    Donald Brittain
  • camera
    John Spotton
  • editing
    John Spotton
  • sound
    Roger Hart
  • sound editing
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
    John Knight
  • re-recording
    Roger Lamoureux
    Ron Alexander

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  • Bob_Storm

    He made the point that the swine that delivered this sick regime had it easy on a noose in the end. They never suffered. Henryk Gorecki third symphony 'symphony of sorrowful songs' . 'Sadness' that seems to take you there directly. It is a harrowing experience. If anyone has ever worked near an abattoir (animal slaughterhouse) you will know the insanity and complete sorrow you feel hearing the last few screaming. It rips you apart because there's nothing you can do to save them. How can anyone, any nation or anything be forgiven for doing this? Homo Sapiens are the worse killers in the animal kingdom so therefore must be the dumbest,

    Bob_Storm, 27 Jan 2012