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Imagine hundreds of voices from pre-war Germany. Voices that said “no”. Voices that have not been heard since the 1930s, voices that have been silent for 80 years. Voices that have finally reach our ears to tell us about Hitler’s Germany, about Nazis taking over German society, about the total transformation of daily life during the Reich. Eyewitness accounts written at that time by those who experienced the rise of Nazism. Imagine 263 stories. 20,000 pages written by men and women in exile, ordinary citizens transformed overnight into social pariahs. A few dozen booklets, most of them 150 to 200 pages, written in German and English. These autobiographies are preserved today in Harvard University’s archives, unknown even by most historians on the era. Almost none of the accounts had been published at the time; about a dozen were published later, mostly posthumously. These manuscripts are of immeasurable value, and are what this film is made of.
Writer, scriptwriter and film director Jérôme Prieur has directed many documentaries that explore history, literature and the arts. With Gérard Mordillat he co-directed Corpus Christi, Origin of Christianity and The Apocalypse, three documentary series which met with success around the world. Concerning World War II, he contributed to history and remembrance with his editorial work on the trial in 1987 of the former head of the Gestapo of Lyon, Klaus Barbie, directing 2 hours of interviews with historians, legal experts and personalities. He also made several award-winning documentaries about this era, that show his talent for combining individual destinies with great historical events, and his virtuosity with archives, including Hitler’s Games, Berlin 1936 (Sheffield Doc/Fest, Jerusalem, ArtFIFA Montreal), awarded at the Focal International Awards in London and Hélène Berr, A Young Woman in Occupied Paris (Rotterdam and Jerusalem festivals) awarded Best Television Documentary by the French Syndicate of Film and Television Critics in 2014.