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“Inheritance” (Allentown Productions)

I have a soft spot for anything Docurama releases. Through the years they’ve been responsible for some of my favorite documentaries, including “The Staircase,” which should be seen by everyone.

Their track record is still unscathed after watching their latest release, “Inheritance.”

“Inheritance” tells the story of two women who have one man in common, and the struggles they go through to meet for the first time.

The man they have in common is Amon Goeth, the SS Commandant of the Plaszow Concentration Camp in Krakow, Poland, and one of the most inhumane and notorious Nazi leaders of World War II.

Helen Jonas was a camp prisoner who was forced to work in Goeth’s house as a slave. Monika Hertwig was Goeth’s only child, born just before her father was hung for war crimes.

Hertwig never knew her father, yet she carries around an intense amount of guilt for his actions during the war. She knew so little about him, in fact, that her first impression of him was Ralph Fiennes’ interpretation of him in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” in 1993.

Shortly after the release of “Schindler’s List,” Hertwig saw an interview with Helen Jonas on television, where she talked about the horrors she witnessed and experienced firsthand while living in the Goeth household. After seeing the interview, Hertwig decided to seek out the woman who had been tortured by her father for so long.

“Inheritance” documents Hertwig’s journey from Germany and Jonas’ journey from New Jersey, as they meet for the first time at the site in Poland where the Plaszow Camp once stood.

One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is how each woman deals with their past. Helen, who suffered far worse than Monika will ever know, is headstrong and tough, acting almost as a pillar for the confused and fragile Hertwig to lean on. In the end it’s obvious that both women are victims of the same man, albeit in different ways.

The disc could have used a few more extras (there is only an interview with the director and cinematographer, as well as a small featurette on the score) because the film itself is just over an hour long, but the story it tells manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

It almost gives me hope for humanity. Almost.

-Shady

Old Poop!