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Former Nazi Spoke Out About 'Shame' He Felt For Being Part Of The SS

Former Nazi Spoke Out About 'Shame' He Felt For Being Part Of The SS

He went on to talk to young people to urge them 'not to be blinded'

A former Nazi spoke about the ‘shame’ he felt for being part of the 'murderous organisation' in a new documentary. 

Hans Werk - who died in 2019 - grew up in Germany in the 1930s and was taught the Nazi doctrine at school where his teacher was an active member of the local Nazi Party. He recalled that his school day began with the class having to stand up and say: “Heil Hitler.” 

When he was just ten years old, he joined the Hitler Youth and later went on to sign up to the SS ‘as soon as he was old enough’. 

Werk spoke about his past in a new documentary called Final Account, which was filmed over 10 years and centres on the last living generation of Germans in the Third Reich. 

In the documentary, Werk’s voice cracks as he talks to a group of students about his involvement in the Holocaust. 

Focus Features

He said: “I belonged to a murderous organisation. We were told that those who were ‘unworthy of life’ had to be destroyed.

“They decided how the Jews, women and children, were to be killed. By this horrid method. I cannot be proud of that. I am ashamed of that. 

“I am ashamed of that.

“But I believe it is important to talk to young people, like you. I ask only this of you: do not let yourself be blinded.”

The Auschwitz Memorial site.

A synopsis for the documentary reads: "A portrait of the last living generation of everyday people to participate in the Third Reich. 

"Men and women ranging from former SS officers to children who grew up in Hitler’s Germany speak for the first time about their memories and perceptions of some of the greatest crimes in human history.”

Six million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust - a mass genocide by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. 

This week marked Holocaust memorial day, held on the 27 January every year to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Final Account is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. 

Featured Image Credit: Focus Features

Topics: TV and Film, No Article Matching