November 18, 2014
Hitler’s G.I Death Camp
Hitler’s G.I. Death Camp, written and directed by Steven Hoggard, is an eye-opening documentary about American soldiers that were captured and tortured alongside the Jews. After losing to the Germans in the battle of the bulge, 350 American soldiers were captured and forced to Hitler’s death camp to work mining coal and other materials to fuel Germany’s war. Malnourished, these Americans were dying every day. Just 50 days after being captured over 75 of these men had already died. The documentary shows several different ways that these people were mistreated and tortured to death. Most of the soldiers were between 170-180 pounds when captured and when America liberated this camp most of the men were between 80-90 pounds. One of the men, Tony Acevedo, keep a diary of all the men that were there and who all died and provides much of the material for this documentary. This documentary uses persuasion techniques to show how German soldiers were not following the rules of war and brutally killed and tortured our own citizens and were not punished for the crimes they committed.
Set in Burga, Germany, this documentary sets out to educate people that American soldiers were also held captive with Jews and other people that Nazi Germany used to enslave for the power of coal on their upbringing of war. The filmmaker also had a purpose of showing the viewer just how bad that conditions were and how these people were treated. Hoggard believes that his audience knows enough information about the war in general and they are somewhat familiar with the Battle of the Bulge. He must also assume that viewers already know a decent amount about the holocaust and that they understand Adolf Hitler is dead. In general this filmmaker must assume that his audience has seen their fair share of gruesome images containing several of the things Germany did to Jewish, Gay, and other people who opposed him. He believes that the viewer knows that there was almost no mercy for anyone including, man, woman, child, and elderly. While Hoggard assumes his audience knows quite a bit about these things, he also believes that his audience will not know that American GI’s also suffered at the hands of Hitler’s death squads.
Hoggard uses an observational and interactive documentary mode to help educate his viewers. Through the use of short narrative features that included interviews of survivors and the use of still photos, he demonstrated what the day to day life was like for an American GI in one of Hitler’s death camps. While the filmmaker provided ample testimonies for American GI’s, he also showed an extreme amount of bias in the documentary. No Germans were interviewed, and the focus was primarily negative as the Americans who spoke in it had only bad things to say about Germany.
There are three different characters telling their stories about the death camp in Germany. The main gentleman in this video’s name was Tony Acevedo. His story is the main point in this documentary because he kept a journal of all of the other Americans who were captured, what happened to them, and how they died. The other stories help show that Tony was telling the truth. To the viewer he is perceived as old, smart, and compassionate. Anthony Acevedo is one of the World War II veterans being honored at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 20th Anniversary Tribute in Washington, D.C. But unlike his fellow honorees, Acevedo is also a Holocaust survivor. Acevedo became the first Mexican-American to be registered with the museum’s survivor database in 2010.
“I used to write down recipes on a piece of paper and then discuss with my buddies what I would want to eat the minute I got home. I would say things like: ‘On this day, I want to be eating a hamburger,’” says Acevedo. This shows the viewer the goodwill that Tony really has. He was a medic in the 70th infantry division, so to the