Decent One, The: Docu about Heinrich Himmler, Nazi SS Commander

THE DECENT ONE, a documentary that reveals the secret personal writings and photographs from the private life of Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler, simultaneously providing a remarkably authentic account of the reality of Nazi Germany.

Winner of the Best Documentary award at the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival, THE DECENT ONE premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, and will open at Film Forum in New York on October 1 and at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on October 10

A recently discovered cache of hundreds of personal letters, diaries and photos belonging to the Nazi Gestapo chief seems to reveal a thoughtful, loving husband and devoted father to his daughter. The documents first found in the Himmler’s family house in 1945 were hidden in Tel Aviv for decades and sold to the father of the Israeli documentary filmmaker, Vanessa Lapa.

Through readings of Himmler’s and his family’s most personal writings and rarely seen restored film footage from key German archives, Lapa has fashioned a fascinating case study: a portrait of the man responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War, who thought of himself in heroic terms.

On Hitler’s behalf, Himmler formed the country death squads, masterminded its concentration camps and built Nazi Germany’s extermination camps. As the facilitator and overseer of these camps, Himmler directed the killing of some 6 million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, and an untold number of other victims including homosexuals, Communists, as well as Polish and Soviet citizens.

Psychologists, historians and moralists have long debated how seemingly ordinarily people can do monstrous things. The jaw-dropping discrepancies Lapa discovers between Himmler’s self-image and his historical role casts a new, piercing light on the human capacity for self-delusion and the very nature of evil.
About the director:

Born and raised in Belgium, Vanessa Lapa has been living in Israel since 1995. An accomplished journalist, she produced and directed over a hundred factual reportages for Israeli television. Her documentary film “OLMERT – CONCEALED DOCUMENTARY” (Israel, 2009) was hailed as a unique cinéma vérite achievement, revealing the behind-­ the‐scenes of the government and the private life of Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Vanessa was also on the Israeli side of the production and content for the 52-­minute documentary “Straddling the Fence” (USA, 2003) directed by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, which aired worldwide. In 2007, she founded the Tel Aviv-­based independent documentary film production company Realworks Ltd.