KZ - British documentary on modern-day life at a former concentration camp released on DVD
Submitted to: Film 
Posted: October 23 2006


23 October 2006 ( - When the story of the unspeakable has been told a thousand times,

When the images of the unimaginable have been shown a thousand times,

When the mind is numb – where do you go from there? You have to start anew…

That is where KZ begins.

UK Cinema Release: limited release from 20th October

DVD release: 23rd October

On the banks of the river Danube, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Upper Austria, lies the picturesque town of Mauthausen. Against the backdrop of the woods and water Oompah bands play in traditional Austrian pubs, the obligatory fast-food restaurants serve the towns’ residents, and Mauthausens go about their daily lives.

Two kilometers from the town centre thousands upon thousands of people from over 30 nations were tortured and murdered. This is the site of a former KZ – German short for concentration camp – a place that today attracts busloads of tourists, parties of schoolchildren, bikers and people from all over the world each day.

Over five weeks the modern daily life of the town and the former camp was filmed by director Rex Bloomstein, and visitors, locals and tour-guides interviewed. The resulting film, KZ, reveals the lasting legacy and impact of acts of evil on individuals of all generations, nationalities and religions, and offers a glimpse into the recent phenomenon of ‘Holocaust tourism’.

Giggling school-groups are quickly silenced as they enter the camp and hear unimaginable stories of the atrocities that were committed inside. Young tour-guides describe daily the torture and suffering inflicted by SS guards on those who were brought to the camp. Visitors of all ages and nationalities explain their reasons for coming – some write messages of peace in the visitors’ book, some take snapshots of each other against the backdrop of the camp, others simply reflect.

Around Mauthausen residents talk proudly of their ‘idyllic’ town and their frustration of the stigma attached to living there. Some older ladies reminisce about their ‘beautiful’ weddings to handsome former SS guards within the camp itself, maintaining their unawareness of what went on inside – others recount chilling childhood memories; the smell of burning bodies over Mauthausen, the piles of corpses in the streets.

Stripped of conventional documentary filmmaking devises – archive footage, music, commentary, reconstructions, stills, historians, testimonies from survivors – KZ offers a dramatically different and startlingly powerful exploration of a difficult and oft-explored subject, and is at once a timeless and contemporary film.


Director: Rex Bloomstein

UK Distributor: Shooting People Films

Running time: 94 mins

Certificate: 12

Further Info:

Theatrical Release: Limited release from 20th October

DVD Release: 23rd October

Festivals: Finalist Sundance 06, Edinburgh 06

Awards: Best of Category: Issues of War & Peace

2006 Vermont International Film Festival Awards


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    Lyndsey Honour
    Shooting People Films  

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