Hostvon Wachter and Niklas Frank
A “Nazi Legacy” Condemned And Denied
By Skip Sheffield
What happens to the children of monstrous mass murderers?
That is the question asked by the documentary “What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy.”
Directed by David Evans (“The Robber Bride”), “Fathers” was written by human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who appears onscreen as the interviewer of Niklas Frank and Host von Wachter. Both are sons of high-ranking Nazi officials in eastern Europe. The men could not be more different. Frank denounced his father, who was Governor of Poland, 30 years previously and wrote the book “In The Shadow of the Reich.” Horst von Wachter, whose father did his dirty work in the Ukraine, remembers his father as loving and optimistic and his childhood being loving and pleasant. Not only does Horst refuse to denounce his father, he cannot bring himself to admit any wrongdoing on his part.
As the trio visits Poland and the Ukraine and they see the mute evidence of Nazi destruction, Sands becomes increasingly frustrated at Horst's denials. At a public debate in London Sands grills Horst to no avail.
“Fathers” proves that some people do not learn from mistakes of the past. The Holocaust cannot be forgotten, even if some people try to deny it.