Decent One

Eerie and utterly riveting ... will haunt the viewer for a long time.


The Decent One

"We can have but one desire as to what is said about us: These German officers, these German soldiers - they were decent." - Heinrich Himmler. A recently discovered cache of hundreds of personal letters, diaries, and photographs belonging to the Nazi Gestapo chief seems to reveal a thoughtful, loving husband and devoted father to his daughter, Gudrun. The documents were hidden in Tel Aviv for decades and sold to the father of the Israeli documentary filmmaker, Vanessa Lapa. She has fashioned a fascinating case study: a portrait of the man responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War, who thought of himself in heroic terms. Psychologists, historians, and moralists have long debated how seemingly ordinary people can do monstrous things. The jaw-dropping discrepancies Lapa discovers between Himmler's self-image and his historical role cast a new, piercing light on the human capacity for self-delusion.

Winner of the Best Documentary award at the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival.
Not Rated
Documentary, History, War
English, German
Vanessa Lapa
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Much of the history of human thought has revolved around our efforts to understand the nature of evil, which have never yielded anything like a satisfactory result. We are fascinated by serial killers and murderous dictators, torn between the obvious fact that they are human beings like ourselves ...

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