USC Shoah Foundation teams up with film companies to launch educator resources incorporating latest documentary film “FINAL ACCOUNT”
USC Shoah Foundation, in partnership with Participant and Focus Features, today released a comprehensive educational initiative for university and upper-level high school-level educators which will incorporate the late Luke Holland’s documentary “FINAL ACCOUNT” into its IWitness education platform. The program, building on USC Shoah Foundation’s deep history of developing transformative learning tools, will put a pedagogical frame on perpetrator interviews from the last living generation of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich for educators and students worldwide. Especially as heightened antisemitism and outright denial of facts around the Holocaust become more commonplace, this program opens up classrooms to new angles on historical themes like complicity, propaganda, and memory in a post-truth era.
“Luke wanted this film to be a powerful and memorable message for students, to be shared in classrooms as a way to fight anti-Jewish hate—to transform the stories of these Nazi perpetrators into a tool for good,” said Stephen D. Smith, PhD, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education.
“Educators need resources to help their students understand the hate they see in their lives today, as well as the hatred of the past,” said Kori Street, PhD incoming Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of Programs and Operations of USC Shoah Foundation. “FINAL ACCOUNT’s personal narratives offer students insight into the long-lasting power of propaganda, misinformation and hate. Our story-focused methodology guides teachers through this difficult material to inspire their students to be curious, courageous, critical thinkers.”
More than a decade in the making, FINAL ACCOUNT—which premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival—raises timely questions about authority, conformity, national identity, and responsibility. The film is a collection of never-before-seen interviews with men and women ranging from former SS officials to civilians as they reckon with – in very different ways – their memories, perceptions and personal appraisals of their own roles in the Holocaust. Made by Participant and distributed by Focus Features, FINAL ACCOUNT does not aim to retell the history of the Nazi era, but rather to depict how these people relate to this history and reflect on their own role more than 60 years later. Thus it is a film not only about history but also about dealing with this history today. And there has never been a more important time to share this than now.
Producers John Battsek and Riete Oord commented jointly, saying: “Luke Holland was always fascinated by the detail of testimony: how and what people choose to remember and what they choose to forget. Through Luke’s forensic questioning, the power of the interviews in this film reveal what drove ordinary people to be complicit in the greatest war crime of the 20th century.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of this partnership,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant. “This program, alongside the often chilling interviews in the film, is a critical tool to not only learn this history more deeply but also understand just how relevant these poisonous ideologies remain today.”
USC Shoah Foundation’s FINAL ACCOUNT education initiative will work to achieve the goal of creating a world in which history is remembered accurately and studied to prevent repeated human suffering and atrocity. The program includes a robust suite of resources for educators, including classroom-ready discussions and activities with clips and content from the film and a dedicated landing page on the Institute’s IWitness website. These educational resources will add an additional layer of historical context to help students understand the impact of Nazi education and propaganda, indoctrination, memory, and facing their own past and responsibility, as well as the peril of prejudice, antisemitism and bigotry.
FINAL ACCOUNT was filmed, directed and produced by the late Luke Holland (I WAS A SLAVE LABOURER, GOOD MORNING MR. HITLER) over the course of ten years. The film is produced by Academy Award® and BAFTA-winning John Battsek (ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN) and BAFTA-nominated Riete Oord (THE LEADER, THE DRIVER AND THE DRIVER’S WIFE) with Andrew Ruhemann, Claire Aguilar, and Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann serving as executive producers.
All supplemental educational materials to the film, including activities, lessons, webinars and more, are available at no cost. Click here to download and learn more about the educational materials at USC Shoah Foundation. If you would like to incorporate the film FINAL ACCOUNT in your class or library system or to license a screening of the film, please contact Swank Motion Pictures. FINAL ACCOUNT is now available to own on Digital and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment — for more information, please visit https://www.uphe.com/movies/final-account.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.