19 films about concentration camps during the war

The Second World War brought a huge amount of grief to millions of people all over the planet. Innocent people were imprisoned in ghettos and death camps, where hundreds of thousands of them were brutally tortured and killed. Mankind is still trying to recover from these events, and modern cinema plays an important role here. We have compiled a list of the best feature films about concentration camps made in recent years.

Farsi Lessons (2020)

1942, Europe is occupied by the Nazis, the height of the Holocaust. The Belgian Jew Zhilye, once in a concentration camp, decides on an adventure – he pretends to be a Persian in order to survive. But events take an unexpected turn when the guards bring him to an officer who dreams of going to Iran and opening a restaurant there. To do this, he needs to learn the Persian language, and who is better suited for this than an ethnic Persian?

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Persian Lessons

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Lars Eidinger, Nahuel Perez Biskayart, Leoni Benesh…

Country:
Russia, Germany, Belarus

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Photographer from Mauthausen (2018)

A film based on real events about a Spanish photographer who ended up in the Mauthausen concentration camp. He was lucky to get out of there alive and take out several photographs denouncing the incredible cruelty of Nazi crimes. These pictures subsequently served as evidence at the famous Nuremberg trials.

Original title:
El fotógrafo de Mauthausen

Genre:
Thriller, drama, military, biography, history

Actors:
Mario Casas, Richard van Weyden, Alain Hernandez …

Country:
Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Sobibor (2018)

The new Russian film, which is the directorial debut of Konstantin Khabensky, tells about the escape of prisoners of war from the Sobibor concentration camp. The organizer was the Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky. Almost immediately after his entry into the camp, Alexander joins a local underground group that is starting a mass uprising. Thanks to extensive military experience, the officer becomes the head of the group, and the prisoners begin to prepare for their escape.

Genre:
Military, drama

Actors:
Konstantin Khabensky, Christopher Lambert, Felice Jankell …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


August Mist (2016)

The action of the German film takes place during the Second World War in Nazi Germany. A gypsy boy ends up in a psychiatric clinic , where the Nazis regularly conduct horrific experiments on children. Here he makes friends, and together with them he tries to survive what is happening, gradually growing up and learning about the accessible world around him.

Original title:
Nebel im August

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Ivo Pitzker, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Schubert …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Paradise (2016)

The feature film by Andrei Konchalovsky tells about the German concentration camps of death, talks about the nature of evil and shows the horrors of the Great Patriotic War without embellishment. The Russian picture is a confession of three people of different origins and social status, their stories immerse the viewer in the terrible atmosphere of the war years.

Genre:
Military, drama, history

Actors:
Julia Vysotskaya, Peter Kurt, Viktor Sukhorukov …

Country:
Russia, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Son of Saul (2015)

The Oscar-winning Hungarian film shows an episode that happened in the Auschwitz camp during the war. The imprisoned Saul, along with a group of other Jews, burn the bodies of their brothers in a crematorium. Among one of the corpses, Saul recognizes his son. The man tries to hide the body from the overseers in order to give his son a decent funeral. Meanwhile, there is a rumor about the liquidation of his group.

Original title:
Saul fia

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Geza Rörig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rehn…

Country:
Hungary

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Naked Among Wolves (2015)

The dramatic events of German cinema take place in the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. Zacharia Jankowski is captured. The prisoner carries with him a suitcase in which an unregistered Jewish boy of three years old is hidden. Soon the camp management learns about the child hiding in the territory. To find out the location of the boy, the Nazis use a variety of and terrible methods.

Original title:
Nackt unter Wölfen

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Florian Stetter, Peter Schneider, Sylvester Groth …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Calm (2011)

The film takes place in occupied France during World War II. In response to the murder of a German officer by resistance fighters, the Nazis order at least 15 Frenchmen to be shot. They are selected from the internment camp – for the most part they are young people who, according to the authorities, share the political beliefs of the terrorists. A dramatic picture based on real events is worth seeing for all lovers of historical cinema.

Original title:
La mer à l’aube

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Leo-Paul Salmain, Mark Barbe, Ulrich Matthes…

Country:
France, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Auschwitz (2010)

A heavy semi-documentary film created by German film director Uwe Boll tells about the horrors that happened behind the fence of one of the most famous death camps of the times of Nazi Germany. Half of the film presents an artistic view of the events that took place in Poland, and the second part contains a documentary chronicle with director’s comments.

Original title:
Auschwitz

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Steffen Mennekes, Arved Birnbaum, Maximilian Gärtner…

Country:
Canada, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 4.5, IMDb – 3.1

Age restrictions:
16+


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Eight-year-old German boy Bruno moves to a new house with his family. His father, a former Nazi official, now works as a concentration camp commandant. Contrary to the prohibition of his parents, Bruno goes too far from home and meets there the same age as the Jew Shmul. The boys communicate through the barbed wire wall and become friends. The famous foreign film, showing the fascist concentration camp through the eyes of children, received a high rating and positive feedback from the audience.

Original title:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.2, IMDb – 7.8

Age Limits :
12+


Judgment on God (2008)

The action of the original foreign painting takes place in the Auschwitz concentration camp. A group of Jewish prisoners, in anticipation of imminent death, decides to hold a rabbinical trial, the main issue of which is God’s violation of the Holy Covenant and his guilt in their suffering. Prisoners choose a judge, lawyer, prosecutor and start the most unusual trial.

Original title:
God on Trial

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Joseph Muir, Joseph Altin, Ashley Artus…

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age limit:
16+


Counterfeiters (2006)

A European film about the survival of Jews in a concentration camp, based on real events, deservedly received an Oscar and a high audience rating. Solomon, the best counterfeiter of the time, is sent to a concentration camp where he paints pictures for Nazi propaganda to avoid death. Having appreciated the talent of the artist , the craftsman is transferred to a special closed camp for the production of counterfeit dollars. Solomon faces a difficult choice: submit or perish.

Original title:
Die Fälscher

Genre:
Drama, crime, military, history

Actors:
Karl Markovich, August Diehl, David Shtrisov …

Country:
Austria, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Without Destiny (2005)

The picture tells the story of a 14-year-old boy from Hungary, who turned out to be a prisoner of a concentration camp. Like many teenagers, Girka is forced to adapt to the difficult conditions of existence, grow up and try to find at least some happiness in this harsh world. An interesting feature film about Nazi concentration camps was created based on the novel by Nobel laureate Imre Kertész.

Original title:
Sorstalanság

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, military

Actors:
Marcell Nagy, Bela Dora, Balint Pentek …

Country:
Hungary, Germany, UK, Israel, France, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


From the Ashes (2003)

An American feature film tells about the women’s section of a Nazi concentration camp. In the midst of a war, European doctor Gisella Pearl, famous for her achievements in the field of gynecology, is a prisoner. The Nazis decide to use her knowledge and appoint a woman as an assistant to Dr. Josef Mengel. So Gisella becomes an eyewitness and unwitting accomplice of the terrible experiments carried out on prisoners.

Original title:
Out of the Ashes

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Christine Lati, Bruce Davison, Jonathan Cake …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.8

Age Limits :
16+


Hart’s War (2002)

1944, the end of World War II. Two American officers meet in a German concentration camp. One of them, a black officer, is accused of killing his colleague, and the second, a young white lieutenant, is appointed his lawyer in a miraculously orchestrated trial. The lieutenant will have to show all his skill and persuasiveness in order to win in court.

Original title:
Hart’s War

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Gray Zone (2001)

Based on real events, the feature film tells about one of the “Sonderkommandos” – groups of Jews who worked in death camps near gas chambers. Under the threat of execution, the Nazis forced them to undress other prisoners, collect valuable items from them and send them to the oven. After that, the prisoners were engaged in cleaning the cells from blood and removing gold teeth from the corpses. For such work, prisoners received certain privileges. But one day the Sonderkommando decides to take a desperate step…

Original title:
The Gray Zone

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, David Chandler…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
18+


Devil Arithmetic (1999)

The film shows a fantastic story that involved Hannah, an American girl of Jewish origin. While celebrating Passover with her family today, Hanna is suddenly transported to 1941 and finds herself at a wedding celebration in the Polish city of Janow. The joyful event is disrupted by the arrival of the Nazis and the sending of all those present to a concentration camp.

Original title:
The Devil’s Arithmetic

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, military

Actors:
Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Paul Freeman …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
12+


Addiction (1997)

The film tells about a young soldier who was captured by the Germans and sent to a military camp. He carefully tries to hide his homosexuality, but when he meets another openly gay prisoner there, he begins to doubt the importance of public opinion. The film stars Clive Owen and Rolling Stones star Mick Jagger.

Original title:
Bent

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, military, history

Actors:
Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluto, Ian McKellen …

Country:
United Kingdom, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
18+


Life is Beautiful (1997)

The picture of Roberto Benigni, which received 3 Oscars, is considered one of the best films about the concentration camps of the Second World War. In the center of the plot is the story of a family that ended up in the Polish Auschwitz. The father is trying to calm his son, presenting him with the current events in the form of a game. To win it, you need to hide from the camp guards, and the main prize is a real tank . The boy really wants a tank, so he tries to follow the rules of the game invented by his father.

Original title:
La vita è bella

Genre:
Military, comedy, drama, melodrama

Actors:
Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini…

Country:
Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.6, IMDb – 8.6

Age restrictions:
12+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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