What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy
Directed by David Evans • Documentary • 2016 • 92 minutes
A bracingly rigorous examination of inherited guilt and pain, WHAT OUR FATHERS DID explores the relationship between two men, each of whom are the children of very high-ranking Nazi officials but possess starkly contrasting attitudes toward their fathers.
The film was written and is hosted by eminent human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who became fascinated by its central figures, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, while researching the Nuremberg trials.
The film comes to a climax when they travel to Lviv in Ukraine, where it becomes clear that Frank and von Wachter's Nazi fathers were responsible for the annihilation of Sands' own Jewish grandfather's entire family. WHAT OUR FATHERS DID is a compelling examination of brutality, self-deception, guilt and the nature of justice.
"This is both an intensely personal story for me as well as one with contemporary and universal relevance as anti-Semitism spreads across Europe and the wounds created in Ukraine during WWII can still be felt today." —Philippe Sands
"Right from the start, this involving documentary asks much of its audience and poses questions that are unnerving yet engrossing." —Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times
"Outstanding documentary...challenging...A chilling demonstration of how the poison of the past can live in the bloodstream of the present." —Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Best Feature, Jerusalem Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival