Auschwitz has a unique place in history. It is where the largest mass murder ever recorded occurred. Yet it is hard to grasp how and why such a chilling place existed.
This compelling six-part documentary series reveals the untold story of Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp in 1945.
Written and produced by BAFTA award-winning producer Laurence Rees, and using new research, Auschwitz, The Nazis And The Final Solution, offers viewers a unique perspective on a camp in which more than one million people were ruthlessly murdered.
The series follows the trail of evil from the origins of Auschwitz as a place to hold Polish political prisoners, through the Nazi solution for what they called 'the Jewish problem' to the development of the camp as a mechanised factory for mass murder.
It interweaves new testimony from camp survivors and members of the SS with archive footage and drama reconstructions of some of the key decision-making moments. And for the first time on television, the buildings that made up Auschwitz-Birkenau are recreated from the original blueprints, using photo-real graphics.
"The name Auschwitz is quite rightly a byword for horror," says series producer Laurence Rees. "But the problem with thinking about horror is that we naturally turn away from it. This series is not only about the shocking, almost unimaginable pain of those who died, or survived, Auschwitz. It's about how the Nazis came to do what they did. I feel passionately that being horrified is not enough. We need to make an attempt to understand how and why such horrors happened if we are ever to be able to stop them occurring again."
The series is the result of three years of in-depth research, drawing on the close involvement of world experts on the period. It is based on nearly 100 interviews with survivors and perpetrators, many of whom are speaking in detail for the first time.
Sensitively shot drama sequences, filmed on location using German and Polish actors, bring recently discovered documents to life on screen, whilst specially commissioned computer-generated images give a historically accurate view of Auschwitz-Birkenau at all its many stages.