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Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution'

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Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution'
BBC DVD cover
Written by
Directed by
Narrated by
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes6
ProducerMary Mazur
  • Alan Lygo
  • Douglas Varchool
Camera setupLaurie Conlon
Running time48 minutes
Original release
NetworkBBC Two
Release11 January (2005-01-11) –
15 February 2005 (2005-02-15)

Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution' is a six-episode BBC documentary film series presenting the story of the Auschwitz concentration camp from its early operations in 1940 to the prosecution of German Nazis involved in the operation of the camp. It combines interviews with former inmates and guards with authentic reenactments of relevant events. It was first televised on BBC Two[1] on 11 January 2005. In the United States, this series first aired on PBS television stations as Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State in early 2005 and was released, under that title, in a two-DVD box set (Region 1) by BBC Warner on 29 March 2005.[2][3]


The series uses four principal elements: rarely seen contemporary colour and monochrome film from archives, interviews with survivors such as Dario Gabbai and former German Nazis such as Oskar Gröning, computer-generated reconstructions of long-demolished buildings and detailed, historically accurate reenactments of meetings and other events. These are linked by modern footage of locations in and around the site of the Auschwitz German camp.

Laurence Rees stressed that the reenactments are not dramatisations but are exclusively based on documented sources:

There is no screenwriter… Every single word that is spoken is double – and in some cases triple – sourced from historical records.[4]

This reflects the conception of the earlier BBC/HBO film Conspiracy, which similarly recreates the Wannsee Conference (an event briefly portrayed in Episode 2 of the series) based on a copy of the minutes kept by one of the attendees, although that film also includes speculative dramatised sections.

The computer-generated reconstructions use architectural plans that only became available in the 1990s when the archives of the former Soviet Union became accessible to Western historians. The discovery of these plans is described in the 1994 BBC Horizon documentary Auschwitz: The Blueprints of Genocide.

The start of the second movement of Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem, to Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 (German: Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der heiligen Schrift) "Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras" ("For all flesh, is as grass"), is used in the opening credits of the BBC documentary film series The Nazis: A Warning from History, with various sections of this part of the movement being used for the closing credits.

The last episode of the series also features Introitus from Mozart's Requiem in D minor, which is played just before the ending credits.


Title Original UK
1. Surprising Beginnings 11 January 2005
2. Orders & Initiatives 18 January 2005
3. Factories of Death 25 January 2005
4. Corruption 1 February 2005
5. Frenzied Killing 8 February 2005
6. Liberation & Revenge 15 February 2005

Media information[edit]



The series has appeared in streaming form through Netflix and BBC Select in North America.

Companion books[edit]

  • Rees, Laurence (6 January 2005). Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-52296-6. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)


  1. ^ Duke, Katy (14 February 2005). "BBC documentary prompts war crimes investigation". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State: About This Series" (Web). Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State". BBC Warner (dist. PBS Video). 29 March 2005. ains 400. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  4. ^ Jinman, Richard (29 September 2005). "Hearts of Darkness". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution'". BBC. 14 February 2005. Archived from the original on 1 September 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  6. ^ "The World War Two Collection". BBC. 25 April 2005. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.

External links[edit]