The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler Within Germany 1933-1945 (1992)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1992Screenplay by Cinematography by , , Film Editing by , ,

A year before the end of the war, Germany was still causing destruction on the continent while, at home, the Nazi party was dealing with subversives in their midst. Approximately 170 citizens were brought before a, to say the least, biased court and held responsible for their part in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler, all of them eventually paying for it with their lives. Resistance to fascism was not a new phenomenon in Germany at this point, the party had its enemies from the time of its rise to power, and this powerful documentary explores the personalities involved in various attempts to overthrow the regime from 1933 to 1945. The heroism of these individuals, many of whom knew that they would die for their actions, is transmitted through stories from their friends, families and colleagues who display sharp recall for the details of their experiences, talking about not only what their loved ones did but also how the rest of the world ignored them.  Being both German and anti-Hitler was not something other Allied countries could imagine, it seems, America and England acknowledged and aided resistance efforts in every occupied country but ignored those who came directly from the source; Germans who spoke out against Hitler, in some cases who traveled overseas with evidence to show foreign leaders, were either not trusted or not taken seriously. There’s a diligent sense of process here, the information is relayed without much flash, but there’s also a great deal of footage that isn’t as commonly seen in other documentaries on the second World War and, when combined with the interviews, contributes to the feeling of tragedy that mounts towards the ending.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Documentary Feature

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