I’ve studied the Holocaust and representation of trauma in media at University so whenever there’s an opportunity to review Nazi related films and documentaries I am the first to put my hand up. It’s a subject I never seem to tire of, but History Channel documentaries are tedious with their reliance on talking heads, repetition and only focusing on Jewish stories.
So when a set like this comes along which tells stories about the involvement of people from places like Norway, Greece, Holland, Latvia, Poland, France, Croatia, Palestine, Finland, Ireland (specifically the IRA?!?!?!) and it’s not a History Channel production, I’m excited.
Nazi Collaborators is a 13 episode, four disc box-set. It focuses on the men and women who conspired with the Nazis out of greed, a hatred of communism/Jews, and fear. Although I knew of some of them from various films and documentaries I have seen previously there were some surprising (the IRA connection) and very interesting stories here. So onto the collection.
Chaim Rumkowski – Was a Polish Jew who was a Nazi appointed head of the Ältestenrat (council of elders) and ran the Łódź Ghetto. He believed that by making the Jews productive and helping the Germans by making shoes, uniforms, ammunitions and backpacks that he would be a valuable asset and save Jewish lives. Lesson? Never trust a Nazi.
Pierre Laval – A French Politician and former Prime Minister, he collaborated with the Nazis to try and ensure loss of life and destruction if France but was later convicted of high treason.
The Arajs Kommando – Were a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police led by Viktors Arājs and known for some of the most notorious killings of Jews in the Balkans. It is thought they killed 26,000 Jews, most from the Riga ghetto.
The Belgian Collaborator – Léon Degrelle, founder of Rexism and Hitler Wannabe who, later in life became a Holocaust denier.
The Croatian Collaborator – Dinko Sakic was the commandant of Jasenovac concentration camp, also known as “the Auschwitz of the Balkans”. Sakic and his men were particularly fond of a crude weapon called the Serb Cutter. He was later caught after 50 years in Argentinia.
Vidkun Quisling – Another anti-Communist Politician who created a new government after the Nazi’s invaded. Got royally screwed by Hitler but maintained he did everything for the betterment of Norway.
IRA – One of the more interesting stories, a rather strategic plan for the Nazis to deal with the IRA to gain strategic advantage over England but it all turned out to be a bit of a comical mess and never really worked out.
The Grand Mufti – The Mufti met with Hitler and was set to be the leader of Palestine after the extermination of Jews.
Jews in Germany Who Fought Hitler and Supported Him – Focuses on “Mischling” or crossbreeds (half/quarter Jew and German) who fought along with the Nazis.
Dutch Collaborator – Anton Mussert was a founder of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands. He was declared by Hitler to be the Fuhrer of the Dutch people and was put in charge of establishing the Dutch SS.
The Greek Collaborator – Ioannis Rallis was used by the Nazis to form a puppet government to prevent Greece succumbing to a Communist regime. He created security battalions that acted against resistance groups
The Good Collaborators? – This episode focuses on Finland and their choice to be co-belligerents with the Nazis as they were fighting a common enemy: Communism and Russia.
Hitler’s Killer Police – The last episode focuses on auxiliary police battalions of the Eastern Occupied countries. Ranging from Poles, Belarusians to Lithuanians, the SS death squads were responsible for the round up and murder of Jews.
A well-researched show with a lot of archive footage I have never seen and it is only repeated minimally. It’s hard for me to find the subject matter shocking anymore, I am just numb to it as I have seen so many images of the Holocaust repeated and used in different contexts. I remain to this day absolutely horrified by what the Nazis did to the Jews but it is the stories of individuals that resonate with me more than images of destruction and death. There’s both on display here and the personal insights into what survivors went through and saw is utterly horrific.
A must buy for those interested in World War II and a must see for anyone with a fleeting interested in WWII and the Nazis.
There’s a selection of two-part clips from other titles that are available: Apocalypse The Second World War, The Noise and the Fury, and Nazi Hunters.
Nazi Collaborators is a 657 minute, 4 disc box-set available on DVD from Madman Entertainment.