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The Grey Zone Review


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One of the most poignant moments in the grave Holocaust drama The Grey Zone comes as a group of Hungarian Jews known as the Sonderkommando try to save the life of a young girl who has come out of the death chamber alive. These Sonderkommando assisted the Nazis in the killing of fellow Jews in exchange for a four-month reprieve from their own death sentence. They received better food and more comfortable living quarters, but they knew all along that their time would eventually reach a similar, tragic end. "It makes no difference, we're dead anyway," one of the men coils. But for this one fleeting moment, their thoughts of death elude them as they rescue this seemingly inconsequential girl.

Many scenes, like the above, though thoroughly bleak and depressing, exemplify why The Grey Zone is such a beautiful film. Based on true events as told in the book Auschwitz: a Doctor's Eyewitness Account, the film chronicles the struggles faced by these Sonderkommando as they plan and eventually execute a fatal uprising that destroys two crematoriums inside the Auschwitz II-Birkenau death camp.

Continue reading: The Grey Zone Review

The Grey Zone Review


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A harrowing, soul-searching account of the Holocaust is presented from a very unique perspective in "The Grey Zone," which is based in part on diaries found buried at Auschwitz and the memoirs of Miklos Nyiszli, a Jew who served as the camp's doctor and aided the abominable Josef Mengele in his experiments on prisoners.

The story tells of a 1944 revolt by the "Sonderkommando," a squad of Jewish internees who chose to serve as wardens of the concentration camp's gas chambers and crematoriums in exchange for a few more months of comparatively privileged life. In exchange for their detestable duties, they got larger quarters, fresh bed linens, good food, cigarettes, and the right to loot the belongings of new arrivals.

The selfishness and cowardice of this choice tortures most of the characters in this film, none more so than Hoffman (David Arquette in a rare dramatic and anguished performance), whom we see early on herding naked throngs into the "showers," promising "The sooner you shower, the sooner you'll be reunited with your families." As the doors are closed, the camera slowly creeps in on Arquette, hearing the gas pipes rattle to life and the screams that come moments later.

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