"I have seen what was not meant to be seen."
2002 German/French/Romanian film directed by Costa-Gavras which explores the links between Nazi Germany
and the Vatican
through the eyes of two characters - the Real Life Waffen-SS
Officer Kurt Gerstein, and a fictional young Jesuit priest named Riccardo Fontana.
In 1942, Kurt Gerstein of the SS Hygiene Institute travels to Poland to instruct the troops in the safe storage and purification of water, and to observe the use of the new form of the chemical Zyklon B he has developed to eradicate typhus. However, accompanied by a sinister SS Doctor, he is taken to the newly established Belzec extermination camp to witness his creation being put to its true, grisly use. A horrified
Gerstein returns to Germany and, despite having been sworn to secrecy, he begins desperately attempting to inform the international community of the massacres. Mindful of the successful campaign against the Aktion T4 programme spearheaded by the Catholic Church, he tries to convey the message to the Vatican, but finds his local bishops unmoved.
However, when Father Fontana hears Gerstein's story, he vows to alert Pope Pius XII
in person, as the two men are certain that a clear condemnation from the Holy Father will rouse German Catholics into action once again. Meanwhile, Gerstein returns to Poland to observe the mass murder and provide further testimony. He tells Father Fontana, "I will be the eyes of God in that hell." But he quickly finds himself unable to passively watch, and begins risking his life to sabotage and slow down the killing in any way he can.
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