History’s “Engineering Evil” examines Holocaust artifacts and uneasy truths

The composer Dmitri Shostakovich used to dedicate his works to the victims of fascism and war because, as he noted, it wasn’t possible in his lifetime to write an individually dedicated piece for each of the dead. And while it may seem like there are endless documentaries, films and specials pertaining to the Holocaust, it’s only because it’s simply far too vast a story to ever be told in its entirety, and it’s a story that demands constant telling and continued reappraisal. All the same, the scope of material produced regarding the Holocaust is insurmountable, and frankly, some documentaries on the subject are better than others. Engineering Evil, premiering on History tomorrow, Nov. 15, at 9pm ET, is one of the more worthwhile of the Holocaust documentaries that I’ve seen in recent years, as it takes a slightly different approach than is usually seen, and manages to grasp some of the magnitude of those events and hand it back to you with a fresh horror that even jaded viewers will find resonates.

One of the reasons the Holocaust is so preposterous to deny is that the Nazis notoriously kept records of virtually everything that went into its planning, construction and execution, from the “resettlement” lists of those transported to the East, to the blueprints, permits and contracts involved in creating the death camps. The artifacts left behind from the Holocaust are frightening in their matter-of-factness, and Engineering Evil puts them front and center in a study of how a civilized and intellectually advanced society like Germany could pioneer inverting the concept of mass production for the mass destruction of human beings.

Among the chilling artifacts examined are blueprints for a crematorium — featuring the approval signature of SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler; items unearthed from mass graves, including jewelry of the dead and the bullets that destroyed them; a notorious anti-Semitic children’s book and a likewise-themed board game and much more. Using photographs of the era, many of which only have come to light in recent years, Engineering Evil examines sites of incalculable misery, like the disembarking “ramp” at Auschwitz or the gas chambers of Sobibor and matches them graphically with what the sites look like today, discomfortingly connecting the present with the past.

Possibly most alarming in Engineering Evil are the number of color films from the camps and ghettos, in which bodies are sometimes seen lying on sidewalks as pedestrians casually walk by, sometimes in frighteningly organized piles, and sometimes as far as the camera can see. Color footage of the victims of the massacre at the ravine of Babi Yar in the Ukraine, where, estimates say as many as 150,000 were shot to death by the Nazis, is a lot to take in, and, as is often said, once seen can’t be unseen. (An educational outreach for students in grades 6-12 is part of History’s support for this, so parents of those on the younger end of that spectrum, and sensitive viewers as a whole should be aware of the imagery this project contains.)

All the same, for anyone interested in Holocaust studies and bringing this ever more-distant topic into the present, Engineering Evil is a powerful film that breaks down the ruthlessly efficient machinery of slaughter and the social mechanisms that enabled its construction, examining them and, with witness testimony and expert analysis, addresses the ever-present, ever-necessary questions of guilt and complicity that continue to confront us today, even as newer genocides unfold in other corners of our world.

Shostakovich – Symphony No.13 “Babi Yar”

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Photo: Courtesy of History

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7 Responses to History’s “Engineering Evil” examines Holocaust artifacts and uneasy truths

  1. Nina says:

    Hey Berg, Why don’t you finally move out of your parent’s basement and maybe even GET A JOB maybe even KISS a GIRL? You must be some 15 year old outcast who has found something to take up his time because he can’t get anyone to date him. I am a retired professor who is so sick of useless trash like you. Why don’t you travel to the places you say don’t exist? Hmm? Is it because you can’t get a passport? Or is it simply because you are AFRAID of what you might find? You are the delusional one, not to mention an idiot.

  2. Friedrich Paul Berg says:

    I am missing NO part of the true picture. It is you Mr. Detier who is delusional and far too lazy to learn. There is an enormous amount of medical literature showing just how catastrophic typhus has been again and again in Europe, and especially during WW2.

    “Passing tales from person to person” is a shoddy way to learn much of anything. For the holocaust hoax there is no real physical evidence that even one person was ever killed by the Nazis with poison gas.

    The fascination even in the “Engineering Evil” film, for example, with crematoria in German concentration camps merely shows how incredibly desperate the hoax promoters are to find anything that looks remotely like “evidence.” The Kremas used normal crematoria ovens designed and used to only cremate only one body at a time consistent with cremation practice throughout the world. The insistence that there was anything sinister about those crematoria is sheer stupidity. Their use helped keep people alive! For simple mass disposal of corpses, cremation makes no sense at all. For that, incineration with co-mingling of the ash of many corpses is far more logical, and efficient, and faster . The Germans had incinerators for garbage, in some cases in the very same buildings where crematory ovens were used–but NEVER allegedly used those incinerators to dispose of any corpses. Do try logic some time, Mr. Detier.

    Friedrich Paul Berg
    Learn everything from my website!

  3. John Detier says:

    I looked over your website and have to say that you are one person with way to much time and far to rampant an imagination for any practical purpose. If you really believe that Adolf Hitler was in some way a savior for the world and his efforts to “help” the Jews were misconstrued for genocide, then I feel a deep sense of sadness for you.
    History as we know is based predominantly on the passing of tales from person to person, followed by physical evidence and ending in logic. For you to think that 3 million humans, all in Nazi Germany, all during WWII, left this world because of plague or epidemic rather then at the hands of evil men then you sir, are delusional.
    What part of the whole picture are you missing?

  4. Friedrich Paul Berg says:

    Eyewitness accounts are not necessarily lies–but, regarding the gassing allegations, the incriminating accounts have all been proven to be lies. See my website.

    The vast majority of gassings were supposedly committed with carbon monoxide (usually from diesel exhaust–totally absurd!) in places like Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno–but ALL of the self-described “eyewitnesses”(only about two dozen) since the war described the corpses as either “blue” or unremarkable. That flies in the face of the simple medical fact that in cases of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, ALL of the corpses will appear a distinct C-H-E-R-R-Y–R-E-D. Those corpses supposedly were piled up, many meters high, supposedly for almost everyone to see, according to Kurt Gerstein, but no one has ever spoken of any red coloring at all. Gerstein had in fact claimed that the corpses were “blue, wet with sweat and urine.” He lied!

    The above is just one major example of how the “eyewitnesses” lied– but there are many, many more. Go to my website and begin to think critically.

    The holocaust story is a monstrous hoax because no one was ever killed by the Nazis in gas chambers.

    Friedrich Paul Berg

  5. jeff ircink says:

    why do you say that eyewitness accounts are lies? you weren’t there. why should anyone put any creedence in any of your theories…they could all be just lies as well, no?

  6. Friedrich Paul Berg says:

    There are NO autopsies of Nazi gassing victims.
    There are NO photos of Nazi gassing victims.
    There are NO German documents identifying any gassing victims.

    There are NO alleged Nazi gas chambers that bare even the slightest resemblance to real gas chambers such as used in the USA to execute criminals.where it still takes as long as 18 minutes to kill a single prisoner as opposed to the fictitious Nazi gas chambers where thousands were supposedly murdered in just a few minutes.

    The really “incriminating” evidence consists entirely of “eyewitness accounts” (lies) and “confessions” ( lies extracted under torture) and a few documents which provide nothing more than food for wild speculations.

    Learn everything from my website.
    Friedrich Paul Berg

    • Johnny Shipman says:

      What an uninformed person you are. Do you know anything about Prussic acid, Hydrogen cyanide,cyclon B=tradename or zyklon B. Here read this….. A hydrogen cyanide concentration of 3500 ppm (about 3200 mg/m3) will kill a human in about 1 minute. Trying to compare a legal execution to the murder of millions by a common rodent poison (zyklon B) is so totally absurd. Get a life Mister and do a little research. All of your “There are no” statements are untrue-and there is plenty of evidence (Facts)that prove the opisite of what you propose.

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