The Commandant’s Shadow – Trailer

“The Commandant’s Shadow” follows Hans Jürgen Höss, the 87-year-old son of Rudolf Höss, as he faces his father’s terrible legacy for the first time. His father was the Camp Commandant of Auschwitz and masterminded the murder of over a million Jews; the life of Höss and his family was recently fictionalized in the Academy Award-winning “The Zone of Interest.” Now, “The Commandant’s Shadow” tells the story of the real people who lived on site at Höss’s death camp.

While Hans Jurgen Höss enjoyed a happy childhood in the family villa at Auschwitz, Jewish prisoner Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was trying to survive the notorious concentration camp. At the heart of this film is the historic and inspiring moment – eight decades later – when the two come face-to-face. This is the first time the descendant of a major war criminal meets a survivor in such a private and intimate setting, Anita’s London living room.  Together with their children, Kai Höss and Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, the four protagonists explore their very different hereditary burdens. 

The film features original excerpts of Rudolf Höss’ long-forgotten autobiography, written shortly before his execution. His words are the ultimate proof of what really happened at Auschwitz, documented by the perpetrator himself, countering denial and ignorance of the Holocaust.

This once-in-a-lifetime feature-length documentary explores the relationships of a mother and her daughter, a father and his son, and the long shadows cast by the crimes that impact generations. It raises questions about love, guilt, and forgiveness, but is ultimately a much-needed story of hope, acceptance, and compassion.

In the wake of the atrocities of October 7th – and at a time when antisemitism has reached a level not seen since the Holocaust – “The Commandant’s Shadow” is a stark reminder that there can be no reconciliation without a true and honest reckoning of the past. Only then can we hope to avoid repeating history and build a better future.


About Daniela Völker 

A German and Argentine filmmaker based in London, Daniela Völker has made series and one-off documentaries for Netflix, CNN, PBS, BBC, National Geographic, ITV, ZDF, and France Television on a variety of subject matters, including the challenges of living together after the genocide in Rwanda and the toxic legacy of Argentina’s “Dirty War” in the 1970s and early ‘80s. Völker started developing this documentary in 2020 when she was approached by Maya Lasker-Wallfisch about her experiences of transgenerational trauma as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor”


About “The Commandant’s Shadow” 

“The Commandant’s Shadow” is written, produced and directed by Daniela Völker and produced by Gloria Abramoff, with Wendy Robbins, Neil Blair, Jonathan Blair, Matti Leshem, Joel Greenberg, Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen, Sajan Raj Kurup, Jani Guest and Jamie Jessop serving as executive producers. Völker’s creative team includes directors of photography Rob Goldie and Piotr Trela, editor Claire Guillon, and music composer Gabriel Chwojnik. 

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in Association with HBO Documentary Films, A Snowstorm / Creators Inc. Production, In Association with New Mandate Films, A Film By Daniela Völker, “The Commandant’s Shadow.”

The Commandant’s Shadow will be released in the UK and Ireland on 12th July 2024 by Warner Bros. Pictures

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