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By Brent Davidson
28th October 2014

It’s always interesting to think that even the world’s most horrid people are, when it comes down to it, people too. With their own history, the path that led them to their own often monstrous fate is one seldom remembered, unlike the tragedy they created.

'The Decent One' is a documentary by Vanessa Lapa that is based on the personal documents found within Heinrich Himmler’s home during the final stages of World War II. These documents consist of very early diaries, love letters and official correspondences that are a unique insight into the man who became one of the masterminds of 'The Final Solution'.

From the get go, I was interested to see this documentary, these letters, diaries and correspondences have never been seen in a public setting before. These primary sources are one of the most important and horrific parts of global (and definitely Jewish) history, detail everything from boyhood, to his wooing of his wife, to his extensive position in the Nazi Party. With so much material, this documentary could easily have gone for a whole week, and it's a credit to the research and skilful team that, even after the roughly hour and a half the film ran, you were still genuinely interested.


Stylistically, this documentary got relatively stagnant quite quickly. Using voiceovers on top of found footage of Germany during the time, it was extremely lucky that the subject matter was so fascinating, otherwise it certainly would have been very hard to sit through. What is most fascinating is that, while you would expect the film's subject (when reading someone’s love letters) to be humanised, ‘The Decent One’ provides a chilling insight into how single-minded the young Heinrich Himmler was, and that he was destined to the fate he built. This is an unmissable, riveting watch for anyone with even the vaguest of interest in World War II.

The 'Jewish International Film Festival 2014' competition has now closed. Winners will be announced shortly.

Competition opens at 6pm AEDT on Tuesday 28th October 2014 and closes at 11:59pm AEDT on Monday 3rd November 2014. Five winners will be chosen at random on Tuesday 4th November 2014. To successfully win, entrants must fulfil the above entry conditions before the time the competition closes. Current members/followers are eligible to enter the competition. Only one entry per person. Only one winner per household. To be a valid winner, the entrant must not have won a prize from SWITCH within the last 28 days. Each winner will receive one double pass to the Jewish International Film Festival 2014. By entering, you agree to receive occasional emails from SWITCH in the future. If you decide to unsubscribe from these updates, any further entries will not be applicable. Only Australian residents are eligible to enter.

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