The Auschwitz Report Parent Guide
This is a film filled with anguish - but it's still worth watching.
Parent Movie Review
Reading subtitles is not everyone’s favorite way to watch movies. But if you’re willing to do the work, subtitles are the key to a whole new world of stories and historical accounts.
The Auschwitz Report is a Slovakian film based on a true story of heroism during World War II. On April 7th, 1944, Rudolf Vrba (known as Walter/Valer and played by Peter Ondrejicka) and Alfred Wetzler (Freddy played by Noel Czuczor) escaped from Auschwitz, carrying papers that documented the mechanized slaughter taking place at the death camp. Their goal? To reach home and share the information with the leaders of the Slovakian resistance. But success is far from assured. The men must cross heavily patrolled territory and avoid being turned in by local residents. In addition, the inmates of their cellblock are being terrorized and abused for information that can lead to their capture.
This is a film filled with anguish. It’s excruciating to watch the suffering of the prisoners at Auschwitz; to see the unbelievable brutality of the German guards and commanders. Audiences will suffer along with the prisoners – and with Vrba and Wetzler as they make the dangerous trip home through the snowy woods.
The unexpected heartache in this movie comes at journey’s end – when the escapees wonder if their sacrifice (and that of their fellow prisoners) has been in vain. Their information and its supporting documentation are shocking and horrifying. And not everyone wants to believe it…
There is no shortage of Holocaust movies and parents or teachers might wonder what The Auschwitz Report adds to the existing canon. The answer is that this film powerfully reinforces the power of moral agency. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, himself a survivor of Auschwitz famously said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” In this film, Vrba and Wetzler choose to take tremendous risks to save other Jews from being deported to the camps. And their fellow prisoners accept terrible suffering as the price they are willing to pay. Aside from the two escapees, none of the men change their circumstances but they choose to face torture and abuse in the hopes that their suffering will save others from the same fate.
This film is not rated but the scenes of brutality and three sexual expletives push it into a Restricted rating. Despite that, I think The Auschwitz Report has merit for older teens and adults who want to learn more about the Holocaust. It’s well made (despite its small budget), well acted, and opens a window on a little known historical event. It will also force modern audiences to consider our own responses to the unpleasant truths of contemporary genocides. Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it – and we appear determined to put aside uncomfortable facts as easily as did the people of Vrba and Wetzler’s day.Directed by Peter Bebjak. Starring Noel Czuczor, Peter Ondrejicka, John Hannah, Jacek Beler, Kamil Nozynski. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release September 24, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for The Auschwitz Report
The Auschwitz Report
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Auschwitz Report rated Not Rated? The Auschwitz Report is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There are scenes of brutality in a concentration camp: beatings, whippings, murder, torture. Men are forced to stand outside for days on end in the cold. People are shot to death. A woman is shot in front of her father. A man dreams that he is choking on the end of a noose. Dead bodies are seen lying on the ground. An entire shed full of dead, nude bodies is seen in dim light. Men are buried up to their necks and one of them is beaten to death in front of the others. A man rides his horse all over their heads. It is implied that prisoners are going to kill themselves with a straight razor if they are caught. A guard kicks a man. A man attempts to strangle the officer who has pulled a gun on him. There are disturbing images of a man’s wounded, frostbitten foot. A man hits a wounded man to make him walk faster.
Sexual Content: A room of naked men are dimly seen having medical exams and being shaved.
Profanity: There are about a dozen curses in the movie, including three sexual expletives and some scatological curses.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man doses himself with chloroform. People smoke frequently.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
The Auschwitz Report Parents' Guide
More information about the courageous exploits of Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler can be found in these articles:
Wikipedia: Rudolf Vrba
The Guardian: Rudolf Vrba
The nightmarish reality of Auschwitz is clearly depicted in the film but it’s only a part of the horrifying reality. For more about the Holocaust in general and Auschwitz in particular, you can check these links:
United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum: Auschwitz
History.com: The Holocaust
Yad Vashem: The Holocaust
Although the Nazis were defeated, genocide is still being practiced, although sometimes under other names such as ethnic cleansing. Currently, the government of China is forcing members of its Uyghur minority into “re-education camps”, endeavoring to strip them of their culture and religion. And Myanmar (Burma) has forced hundreds of thousands of its Rohingya minority out of the country, forcing them to flee to Bangladesh for safety. For more information about these modern atrocities, you can read the articles below:
Amnesty International: China: Draconian repression of Muslims in Xinjiang amounts to crimes against humanity
BBC: Who are the Uyghurs and why is China being accused of genocide?
Vox: China’s genocide against the Uyghurs in 4 disturbing charts
Human Rights Watch: “Break Their Lineage, Break Their Roots” China’s Crimes against Hanity Targeting Uyghurs and Other Turkic Muslims
BBC: Myanmar Rohingya: What you need to know about the crisis
Council on Foreign Relations: The Rohingya Crisis
CNN: The Rohingya crisis
The New York Times: The Schoolteacher and the Genocide
Why do governments conduct genocide? What political purposes does it serve? What groups does it benefit? How do they convince their populations that the genocide is acceptable? What propaganda tools do they use? Why are other nations so reluctant to get involved in genocide? What are they afraid of?
Related home video titles:
If you want to hear from Rudolf Vrba firsthand, you can catch an interview with him in the documentary Shoah. A clip is available here: YouTube: Nishtavishe
A refusal to believe the horrifying truths of the Holocaust wasn’t restricted to the wartime period. Denial tells the true story of an American professor and author who was sued by a Holocaust denier.
The horrors of the Holocaust as seen by children are brought to the screen in the documentary #Anne Frank: Parallel Stories.
The scope of the loss faced by the global Jewish community at the end of the war comes into focus in The Song of Names.
A German lawyer in the late 1950s is shocked and appalled when he becomes aware of the dark truths of the Nazi regime in Labyrinth of Lies.
In the 1930s, a young British reporter tried to warn the world about the Soviet-caused famine in the Ukraine. Mr. Jones details his journeys through the Soviet Union and the global lack of interest to his discoveries.