Saxonia Entertainment’s “Hitler Children” illustrates that hateful enemies can coexist within each other. Furthermore, two adversaries can end up reconciling and understanding each side of the story to an extent. The director, Chanoch Ze’evi, introduces five descendants of Hitler’s closest relationships and provides a detail-oriented perspective on their lives. Each of the four German descendants’ last names were easily recognizable and hated by Germans, while one Jewish descendant’s last name left a big imprint in my heart . Having to live with innate guilt and hatred for the past, each of the five descendants found unique ways to cope.
Bettina Goering, Hermann Goering’s great niece, sterilized herself to prevent her future generation from inheriting the Nazi blood. Hermann Goering was the first to order punishment on European Jewry and the most “colorful” member of the Nazi regime. “I cut the line,” she stated as a symbolization of asking for forgiveness.
Katrin Himmler, Heinrich Himmler’s great niece, is married to a Jewish husband. Throughout their marriage, the question of “At what point does it become impossible to love?”
Rainer Hoess, Rudolf Hoess’ grandchild, lives in constant fear of recognition. To overcome the fear and apologize for Rudolf Hoess’ acts, Rainer reached out to Eldad Back. Back is a descendant of the survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and Hoess is the descendent of the general who created the Auschwitz concentration camp. The two gentlemen travel to Auschwitz together, witnessing the significant contrast between the inside and outside the gates of the concentration camp. Later in the trip, Back honestly states that the short period of time was not enough to feel a connection to the sincere apology Rainer had to offer. Back’s honesty and bravery was respected by many of the viewers.
Monika Hertwig, Amon Goeth’s daughter, recalled when she first watched “Schindler’s List” and realized the true faces of her father. She had to cope with her family’s lies and the shock of the film for the rest of her life.
Niklas Frank, Hans Frank’s son, was denounced by his family due to his efforts to reconcile for his father’s work. His sister now moved to Africa to follow the apartheid regime and he is left with no family near his side.
It is not the circumstances but our actions that define who we are. The ethical and moral compass formed as a community is important in shaping individual and communal identities. The human heart leaves no room for forgiveness of the enemy, but “Hitler’s Children” allowed me to question my moral compass. At what point does it become impossible to love others?