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photo © docMovie/Christoph Rau

Why do normal people become mass murderers? Why do decent family fathers kill women, children and babies on a daily basis? The perpetrators are members of the Nazi death squads, who killed about 2 million Jewish civilians in Eastern Europe – by bullets, face to face. We hear their thoughts, as they wrote them down in letters and diaries, we hear what they said at court: Why they did not refuse to execute these horrific orders, how killing became a routine, how they managed to excuse themselves, how they were manipulated by their leaders. It's the blueprint of a genocide.

A panel of psychologists, historians and genocide experts helps us to understand: among them Benjamin Ferencz, chief prosecutor of the "Einsatzgruppen"-trial in Nuremberg, Christopher Browning, author of the acclaimed Holocaust-study Ordinary Men, Robert Jay Lifton, one of the proponents of "Psychohistory" and the French Père Patrick Debois, tireless researcher of the "Shoah par balles" in the former Soviet-Union.

Would we have acted differently? How to overcome our readiness for conformity, obedience and violence? Is there individual guilt, if these horrible patterns are all too "human"? How to prevent genocides in the future? THE ULTIMATE BAD is an extraordinary film, a documentary on the one hand but also marked by Oscar®-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s scenic transformations for which the film’s DoP Benedict Neuenfels has developed a unique visual language.

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men.” Primo Levi
Genre Drama, History, Society
Category Docu-Fiction
Year of Production 2013
Director Stefan Ruzowitzky
Screenplay Stefan Ruzowitzky
Cinematography Benedict Neuenfels
Producer Wolfgang Richter
Co-Producer Josef Aichholzer
Voices Volker Bruch, Alexander Fehling, Benno Fürmann, Hanno Koffler, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Andreas Schmidt, Simon Schwarz, Devid Striesow, Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Nicolette Krebitz
Production Company docMovie/Darmstadt, in co-production with Aichholzer Film/Vienna, ZDF
Runtime 96 min
Format DCP, color, 1:1.78
 German, English
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Jerusalem 2014
Awards The Avner Shalev-Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award for Artistic Achievement in Holocaust-Related Films Jerusalem 2014
With backing from German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, HessenInvestFilm, Österreichisches Filminstitut, ORF (Film/Fernseh-Abkommen)

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