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Hot Docs Review: The Accountant of Auschwitz

A deeply thought provoking trial serves as the backdrop to this moving tribute to Holocaust survivors.

In 2014, at 93-years-old, Oskar Gröning was charged as an accessory for 300,000 murders at the Auschwitz concentration camp. In 2015, director Matthew Shoychet traveled with a group of Auschwitz survivors to Lüneberg, Germany where they would testify against Gröning. Shoychet offers a full perspective of the much publicized trial with interviews spanning from Lüneberg locals to member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team Alan Dershowitz. Through these interviews, The Accountant of Auschwitz questions the ethics of holding this one man legally responsible for 300,000 deaths nearly seventy-five years after the fact.

The Accountant of Auschwitz serves as a moving examination at the post-war lives of Holocaust survivors. Subject Bill Glied (pictured above) – a former Toronto resident who passed away early this year – questions both his role in the trial and his decsion revisit the horrors of his youth. On the other side of the spectrum is another survivor, who chooses to forgive and hug Gröning in the one of the film’s most challenging and thought provoking moments.

Shoychet has crafted a film that not only functions as a historical document but also examines the very nature of trauma and post-Holocaust indentities. It’s deeply wraught emotional and ethical qualms elevate the material from the singular event, making the film an essential piece on Jewish identities and deaths.

 

4.5
Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.