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Nazi Hunters Series Director: How to Prepare Children for the Role of Nazi Victims | hessenschau.de

 Nazi Hunters Series Director: How to Prepare Children for the Role of Nazi Victims |  hessenschau.de

In concentration camps, children were abused for pseudo-medical experiments. The docu-drama “Nazi Hunters” shows their fate. In an interview, the Kassel director Raymond Ley tells how he prepared the young actors for the shooting.

He is known for dedicating himself to heavy fare: the Kassel director Raymond Ley filmed the story of Anne Frank and the right-wing extremist Beate Zschäpe; most recently he reconstructed the murder of Kassel’s district president Walter Lübcke with “Schuss in der Nacht”. His latest docu-drama “Nazi Hunters – Journey into Darkness” is now devoted to a little-known chapter of the post-war period: British investigators uncovered the murder of children who had previously been abused in the Neuengamme concentration camp in Hamburg for human experiments. External content End of external content Shots The film is based on the interrogation protocols of investigators Anton Walter Freud, Sigmund Freud’s grandson, and Hanns Alexander from 1945 and 1946. The focus of the docu-drama, however, is on the child actors. Raymond Ley worked with up-and-coming actors between the ages of seven and twelve, including a twelve-year-old from Burgsolms (Lahn-Dill). In an interview with hessenschau.de, the director tells how he prepared the children for the topic and why the end of his film is almost forgiving.
hessenschau.de: Mr. Ley, why did you want to tell the story of these children?
Raymond Ley: We’ve made films about Adolf Eichmann, Anne Frank and the Blankenese children. A new perspective emerges here. The subject of British investigators is relatively unknown in Germany and I found it interesting to look at it from that perspective, i.e. from the perspective of the men and women who were present at the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and who, as émigré Jews, were on the fought on the British side.

hessenschau.de: You wrote the screenplay together with your wife. Did the topic also find its way into your private everyday life?
Ley: With us, the fabrics are always and everywhere present. We have two 14-year-old children who don’t always find it amusing when we talk about subjects that they are more likely to find frightening or distant. But that’s our life and we’re very grateful for this construction because we really like working together and we really like living together.
hessenschau.de: Children between the ages of seven and twelve play in “Nazi Hunters”. Did you get what the film is about?
Ley: No child between the ages of seven and twelve has direct contact with the atrocities of the Holocaust or the crimes of the Nazis in the Third Reich. We cast the children with a clear statement of what we want to produce. The children and their parents already knew before the casting where the focus of the story was. It’s easy to find out about it online these days. Even as a child you can figure out within seconds how the story of the children at Bullenhuser Damm went. Further information

Bullenhuser Damm

The former Bullenhuser Damm school building in Hamburg served as a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp during the war. On the night of April 21, 1945, twenty children, their four carers and 24 Soviet prisoners of war were murdered there. End of further information We worked hand-in-hand with the parents, who knew the full script and wanted to make individual decisions about what to tell their children and how. The young actors have all been prepared by the assistant director and childcare. Whether it was clear to the child actors from the beginning what drama happened to these children within the Holocaust – between deportation and human experiments – I would dispute that. But they had developed a sense of their destiny.

hessenschau.de: As a director, how can you prepare children for such a topic?
Ley: As a director, I’m on the set and can talk to them about the character, rehearse and edit scenes. The preparation was relatively long, from April to late June, early July. I showed the children all the locations before we started shooting. After the extensive rehearsals, some of which can also be seen in the film itself, the children introduced their parents to the locations themselves. They were very proud and excited.
hessenschau.de: Is the film suitable for showing to children?
Ley: We didn’t make a children’s film, but a film about the murder of 20 children. This film is not made for children. I left it up to the parents of the child actors to watch it beforehand and then decide which clips they want to watch with their children. Ultimately, they have to decide to what extent they expect their children to do this again. However, the child actors get a “children’s version” from us with the most important scenes and some sequences that were not used in the film.
hessenschau.de: How did you experience the children on the set?
Ley: For you, this filming was like an absurd holiday camp in a rural area. At the same time, as is normal for children, they always found their way into the scenes from the game, so to speak, and found their way out of these scenes again. It was very important to us that the children could immerse themselves in the content but were never alone after the scenes. There were often parents on site who played football with the children afterwards. There were such absurd situations that the children played football in their film costumes or drank coke. These children have become a unit. There were no longer any differences between those who had larger roles and those who had smaller roles. Further information

Also a Hesse among the child actors

Colin Muskat from Burgsolms (Lahn-Dill) plays one of the children in “Nazi Hunters”: the Frenchman Georges-André Kohn. The 12-year-old had to have his hair shaved so that he could also look like a child in a concentration camp. In an interview with hr, he says he was aware of the fate behind his role. “But you didn’t notice that while playing, so you concentrated on the text,” he says. At the end of the filming, Colin and other child actors visited the memorial for the murdered children, the Bullenhuser Damm in Hamburg. End of further information
hessenschau.de: The film takes place on several time levels and consists of fictional and documentary scenes. Why did you choose this form?
Ley: Because it made the most sense to me. I like this mixed form between documentary material, which is used very sparingly in the film, and large fictional scenes. The viewer should not dismiss the story as historical and long gone. We wanted to bring her a little bit closer to him. We wanted to give viewers the opportunity to engage and meet two Auschwitz survivors, Andra and Tatjana Bucci. These are two of the last survivors, two women who escaped annihilation. And then it was interesting again to bring our different forms and actors together, namely to shoot an encounter between Andra and Tatjana Bucci and our actors’ children.

hessenschau.de: This last scene, which shows the encounter between the young actors and the eyewitnesses, acts as a follow-up for the children: they ask the women questions about their experiences. What’s it all about?
Ley: It was a follow-up for the children, but that wasn’t our first intention. There were initial concerns as to whether the Bucci sisters even wanted to meet the children. After all, the two women were waiting for the children in Neuengamme – they had never seen each other before. We were very documentary and just watched what was happening at that moment. I always love that moment when Tatjana Bucci hugs the girls and the little boy. That smile outshines everything.
hessenschau.de: The end seems almost forgiving. Was that your intention?
Ley: In its fictionality, the film ends with the little figurine being burned by one of the children, Sergio. I didn’t want the film to end there. We definitely wanted to show that the Buccis survived. That moment of encounter at the end has a moment of hope. It shouldn’t go away. It must be clear that people survived here – a victory over the perpetrators. The conversation was conducted by Anna Lisa Lüft. Further information

Nazi Hunters – Journey into Darkness

From now on in the ARD media library and on Sunday, January 16th at 9:45 p.m. in the first. End of further information Further information Broadcast: hr2, 13.01.2022, 3.10 p.m. End of further information Source: hessenschau.de

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