30 Holocaust Movies You Must Watch To Know The Historic Horrific Event

Heil Hitler!

Sanjana Iyengar

Jan 8, 2021|7 min read


The term Holocaust refers to the state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women and millions of young ones by NaziGermany and its collaborators during World War II.

The murders were administered in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through work in concentration camps; gas chambers, gas vans in German extermination camps.

Holocaust movies are that category of films that deal with the Holocaust in Europe. These films that centre the topic of the Holocaust include both documentary and narrative films. 

These movies were produced from the early 1940s before the extent of the Holocaust was widely known and have continued to be made since then. Here’s a list of 30 Holocaust Movies to binge on to know more about this catastrophic event in depth:

1) The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

This Holocaust movie shows the ruthless murder of the protagonist (an eight-year-old boy who befriends a Jewish boy on the other side of the fence.) and thousands of Jews in a gas chamber.

2) The Pianist (2002)

The Holocaust movie- “The Pianist” shows a Polish Jewish musician battling the odds to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto ( largest of the Nazi ghettos)  of World War II.

3) Life is Beautiful (1997)

This magnificent film gives us a glimpse of the Holocaust, but it is really about love, and the indomitability of humanity even amidst inhumanity

4) Schindler’s List (1993)

Schindler’s List beautifully shows an industrialist’s change of heart and his growing concern for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis in German-occupied Poland during World War II

5) The Counterfeiters (2007)

Like most films about the Holocaust, The Counterfeiters is a moving story of a survivor, Solly. It is focused on the moral evolution of the survivor and brings to life the survival of the fittest, even in the worst circumstances.

6) Sophie’s Choice (1982)

This famous Holocaust movie -  Sophie’s Choice has a very intriguing storyline. The movie tells the magical story of the main character- Sophie, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, has found a reason to live with Nathan, an unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust

7) Europa Europa (1990)

Europa Europa is a movie about a boy in Nazi Germany, trying to deceit the troops that he is Jewish and joins the Hitler Youth Organisation. It is based on a real-life story and hence, has details that give goosebumps.

8) Divided We Fall (2000)

Among the popular Holocaust movies, we have the movie Divided We Fall, which is a 2000 Czech film based on a true story. It takes you back to the time of World War II, in the German-occupied Czechoslovakian village, where the childless couple Josef and Marie kindly agree to hide a Jewish friend at great personal risk.

9) The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

This Holocaust movie is about a young Jewish girl Anne who pens down her experiences and express her longing for freedom while she is forced into hiding with her family and one other family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

10) The Pawnbroker (1964)

The Pawnbroker is a movie about a Jewish pawnbroker, who is a victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man and the existence of God. He continues to be so until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions. It is an exceptional movie to watch as time flies and the horror of the Holocaust slowly recedes into history.

11) Denial (2016)

Denial is a Netflix Holocaust movie that is based on the book `Denying the Holocaust’ written by Deborah Lipstadt. It is a true story about a Holocaust denier on trial and how we can work to defend what we know to be true.

12) The Reader (2008)

This Netflix Holocaust movie talks about a law student’s mysterious re-encounter with his former lover at the incident of her defending herself in a war-crime trial.

13) Son of Saul (2015)

In this movie, A Jewish-Hungarian man who is also a concentration camp prisoner sets out to give a child a proper burial after he mistakes him for his son.

14) Ida (2015)

Ida is another of the popular Holocaust movies. In this Polish movie, an orphaned young novice nun about to take her vows discovers that she is Jewish. The story is beautiful, sad, and ultimately unforgettable.

15) Secret Lives: Hiding Children And Their Rescuers During WWII (2002)

This haunting documentary about the time of the Holocaust narrates the story of Jewish children saved from the Nazis by non-Jews. It beautifully shows what humanity is all about as Non-Jewish rescuers, who took Jewish children into their homes at great personal risk, perform extraordinary acts of decency.

16) Enemies: A Love Story (1989)

Herman Broder (Ron Silver), a Holocaust survivor living in New York City finds himself romantically involved with his current wife, a married woman and his long-vanished wife. It is one of the best Holocaust movies to watch with your family.

17) Inglorious Basterds (2009)

This Netflix Holocaust movie shows the Jewish Uprising against the injustice being done to them. It is a bizarre, bold, and bloody story, without much of war but plenty of menaces.

18) The Book Thief (2013)

The Book Thief is yet another Holocaust movie that reveals how a girl copes during the horrors of adolescence and World War II. She struggles to survive and to thrive under the glare of book-burning Nazis.

19) Conspiracy (2001)

This Holocaust movie shows a body of officials belonging to the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler gearing up to implement the last phase of the Holocaust. It shows the true faces and the psychology of Nazi officials involved in clearing out all the Jews during WWII.

20) Numbered (2012)

Numbered is a documentary on the Holocaust which is Guided by Auschwitz survivors' testimonies, wherein the significance and history of the numbers tattooed onto their bodies Nazi soldiers.

21) Fugitive Pieces (2007)

This Holocaust movie revolves around the story of a writer who has trouble moving past his haunting memories of the Holocaust. He was 7 when the Nazis dragged her teenage sister with them after killing his Jewish parents It was a Greek geologist who saved him from the Nazis. The movie is about memory, history and survival guilt.

22) The Devil's Arithmetic (1999)

Of the many Holocaust movies, this film is unique in its transportation of a modern girl into 1940s Poland. It is very well done, contrasting the frivolous modern lifestyle with the hardships of the 1940s. It shows that everything that happened was so cruel and treacherous that we wish it never happens again.

23) Amen (2002)

In this movie, Nazi officer who is a chemist by training is assigned to develop a disinfectant to purify water for the German army but soon discovers that his invention, is being used to exterminate imprisoned Jews.

24) Valentina's Mother (2008)

Valentin’s Mother originally titled Ima shel Valentina is a Polish Holocaust film that is about an elderly Holocaust survivor living in Tel Aviv,  who resists her only son's attempts to find her a live-in help.

25) Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Fiddler on the roof centres a Jewish peasant living in Anatevka and his worries when he is faced with the challenge of marrying off his five daughters amidst the growing tension in his village.

26) The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, take up the mission to save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion in WWII Poland. It is a moving story and has tender moments that show the Nazi invasion is timid and sanitized.

27) Au revoir les enfants (1987)

Au revoir les enfants is a movie with a slow, heartwarming and realistic story set in the midst of WWII. You get to know that Jean is jew and he would be caught but you keep hoping he wouldn't be. The fear of Nazis is best portrayed in this movie.

28) Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Judgment at Nuremberg is a courtroom drama that throws light on the historical atrocity with thoughtfulness and vitality. It is a powerful, sombre and thought-provoking movie that goes to account for the aberrant thinking that led Germany into committing atrocities during WWII.

29) Defiance (2008)

This Holocaust movie is about Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe who escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavour to build a village, in order to protect themselves.

30) Transit (2018) 

Transit is a haunting film about the Holocaust, whose story and mood will stay with you for a long time even after viewing it. It is an intriguingly unique blend of past and present, set in a country where Fascism is not impending but has arrived to torture the Jews.

The Holocaust was a catastrophic disaster which has left a huge mark in the history of time and the brutality of the Nazi shown towards the Jews has had a long-lasting impact. The Holocaust movies mentioned act as shreds of evidence of the cruelty faced by the innocent.

This world should never ever see a miserable time like the Holocaust again. We hope this list of Holocaust movies will be helpful when you sit with your children to watch and learn about the horrific historic event. If we missed any, do let us know in the comments section below.

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Sanjana Iyengar

Passionate writer. Find what you love and let it kill you ~ Charles Bukowski



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