David Evans’ “What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy” traces the opposed views of two men whose fathers had committed Nazi crimes, as the title well indicates. Human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, descendant of a Holocaust survivor, investigating the history of the Nuremberg trials, discovered two elderly men, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wächter, sons of Nazi governors (and by extension mass murderers), and talks to both at length about the legacy of their fathers. Dramatically, one son forgives; the other cannot. (“He loved Hitler more than his family” is only seven words, but what words.) They have lived, remembered, thought. And Evans contrives, prods, watches. The men meet, visit historical sites with Evans, begin to battle: “I like you, but I don’t like your brains and the thoughts in your brains.” The contrast is bracing. 92m. (Ray Pride)
“What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy” opens Friday, November 13 at Siskel. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.