A stunning feature-length reminder of the lessons we must take from one of history's most grotesque and haunting chapters, We Shall Not Die Now dissects the chronology of the Holocaust in vivid and heart wrenching detail. Historians and survivors carry this tragic narrative in hopes that younger generations will understand the events that lead to these monstrosities, and never forget that variations of this tragedy could occur again.
The initial segment of the film outlines the steps that paved the path for mass extermination. Bolstered by the societal and economic realities facing Germany and persuaded by the perverted vision or impassioned oratory of Adolf Hitler, the Jewish people were made the scapegoat for the country's ills. The formation of master race began to take shape.
We're instructed on the necessity of stationary camps as a means of annihilating groups in larger numbers and with greater efficiency. Cameras visit the sites of these death camps as they stand today. For example, the filmmakers capture the first death camp in Chelmno, where over 150,000 people perished in gas chambers, and the mass graves that exist on its outskirts.
Much of the film is a story of process - how so many millions were systematically massacred, their valuables procured, and their bodies discarded. We learn how the inefficiencies of one camp were corrected at the next. But personal stories pierce through these practical details. The testimonies of survivors take us through the horrors of being separated from family members, transported in cramped cattle cars, witnessing the murder of babies, and watching their loved ones being ushered into arenas of certain death.
One of the survivors profiled in the film was saved by Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who took it upon himself to protect the lives of 1200 Jews. Amongst the snapshots of unspeakable brutality, we are made aware of other heroes who fought to save the Jews during this period.
We Shall Not Die Now is not a film of hyperbole; it tells its story plainly and without soaring embellishment. This somehow makes its insights even more horrific and emotionally impactful. It's essential viewing.
Directed by: Ashton Gleckman