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The Commandant's Shadow | © Abramoff & Volker / Warner Bros.
© Abramoff & Volker / Warner Bros.

The Commandant's Shadow

    All titles (2)
    Documentary Feature | 2023-2024 | United Kingdom



    Brief synopsis

    From Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Documentary Films comes filmmaker Daniela Völker’s timely and poignant documentary “The Commandant’s Shadow,” which follows Hans Jürgen Höss, the 87-year-old son of Rudolf Höss, as he faces his father’s terrible legacy for the first time. His father was the Camp Commandant of Auschwitz and masterminded the murder of over a million Jews; the life of Höss and his family was recently fictionalized in the Academy Award-winning “The Zone of Interest.” Now, “The Commandant’s Shadow” tells the story of the real people who lived on site at Höss’s death camp.
    While Hans Jurgen Höss enjoyed a happy childhood in the family villa at Auschwitz, Jewish prisoner Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was trying to survive the notorious concentration camp. At the heart of this film is the historic and inspiring moment – eight decades later – when the two come face-to-face. This is the first time the descendant of a major war criminal meets a survivor in such a private and intimate setting, Anita’s London living room. Together with their children, Kai Höss and Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, the four protagonists explore their very different hereditary burdens.

    The film features original excerpts of Rudolf Höss’ long-forgotten autobiography, written shortly before his execution. His words are the ultimate proof of what really happened at Auschwitz, documented by the perpetrator himself, countering denial and ignorance of the Holocaust.

    This once-in-a-lifetime feature-length documentary explores the relationships of a mother and her daughter, a father and his son, and the long shadows cast by the crimes that impact generations. It raises questions about love, guilt, and forgiveness, but is ultimately a much needed story of hope, acceptance, and compassion.

    In the wake of the atrocities of October 7th – and at a time when antisemitism has reached a level not seen since the Holocaust – “The Commandant’s Shadow” is a stark reminder that there can be no reconciliation without a true and honest reckoning of the past. Only then can we hope to avoid repeating history and build a better future.

    (Warner Bros. Pictures)


    ActorRole nameVoice actor / SpeakerVoice actor
    Höss' Autobiography read byKlemens Koehring
    Maya Lasker-WallfischSelf
    Kai HössSelf
    Hans-Jürgen HössSelf
    Anita Lasker-WallfischSelf


    Director of photographyPiotr Trela
    Director of photographyRob Goldie
    DirectorDaniela Volker
    EditorClaire Guillon
    Additional editorSean Mackenzie
    ComposerGabriel Chwojnik
    ProducerDaniela Volker
    ProducerGloria Abramoff
    Executive producerJamie Jessop
    Executive producerLen Blavatnik
    Executive producerMatti Leshem
    Executive producerJani Guest
    Executive producerNeil Blair
    Executive producerWendy Robbins
    Executive producerJoel Greenberg
    Production managerLaura Jones [1]
    Location managerVlad Novikov
    Poland shoot
    Poland shoot
    Archive producerMark Tinkler
    Archive producerJames Barker
    Archive producerLinn Sackarnd
    Archive producerGregor Murbach
    Archive producerRenata Koszyk

    Production companies

    Abramoff & Volker Production [uk]
    Creators Inc. [uk]

    Distribution / Sales companies

    Abramoff & Volker Production [uk]
    Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. [us]
    Warner Bros. Pictures Germany [de]
    Germany (theatrical)
    Germany (theatrical)


    Award winnerYearAwardCategory 
    Daniela Volker2024Docaviv [il]
    Yad Vashem Award for an Outstanding Holocaust-related Documentary
    Yad Vashem Award for an Outstanding Holocaust-related DocumentaryWinner


    Winner of The Yad Vashem Award for an outstanding Holocaust-related documentary.
    Winner of The Yad Vashem Award for an outstanding Holocaust-related documentary.

    Cinema releases and premieres

    Theatre releaseGermanyThursday, 13/06/2024
    Theatre releaseUSAWednesday, 29/05/2024