Catherine Bernstein: T4 – Un médecin sous le nazis

I know the French director Catherine Bernstein from the Paris-based European training programme Archidoc and from several of her awarded documentaries. She is a master in dealing with archive material, which is so brilliantly demonstrated in this film that will be broadcast in France (FR3) tomorrow monday February 29.

I received a vimeo link fra Catherine Bernstein, watched the film and wrote some notes to her: ”Dear Catherine. I saw the film. It is based on an impressive research, it tells a terrible story that I had never heard before, it raises the eternal question about “guilt” (“did you examine your conscious”, you ask the doctor), yes, you tell it addressing the scientist who “knew nothing”, I was “hooked” from the start – and it is a scoop to have childrenreading/translating the texts and figures. Bravo – and hope you get a good audience Monday!

I have copy-pasted the promotion texts of the film, an English and a French version – they are different:

Entre 1939 et 1945, le docteur Julius Hallervorden a contribué à l’assassinat des malades mentaux ordonné par Hitler. Le médecin a récupéré 690 cerveaux de victimes pour ses recherches sur les pathologies mentales. Malgré cela, Julius Hallervorden a poursuivi une brillante carrière après guerre, sans jamais être inquiété.

Le documentaire suit, pas à pas, la carrière de ce neurologue réputé qui, au nom de la science, participa à un meurtre de masse afin d’accélérer ses recherches médicales personnelles. Le parcours de ce médecin est intimement lié à celui de l’opération dite «T4», consistant à éliminer les handicapés physiques et mentaux et les personnes considérées comme inutiles et «asociales» par le régime nazi.

(The synopsis of FR3 that distributes monday February 29 at 22.25)

This documentary recounts his story and through the man’s story,that of the so-called “Action T4”, which consisted of eliminating physical and mental disabilities and those people considered by the Nazi regime to be useless or “asocial”. Doctor Julius Hallervorden, a major name in the science of brain pathology, first benefited from, then contributed to the systematic assassination ordered by Hitler of German mentally ill persons, by recovering the brains of 690 victims. He nevertheless pursued a brilliant post-war career, in all impunity, and died covered in honours. Between 1939 and 1945, at least 200,000 ill people were assassinated

(From the catalogue of the sales company, arte tv.)

France, 2014, 53 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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