Radical Evil

( Austria, Germany / 2013 )
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"We were only following orders." This remarkable film asks why Nazi soldiers agreed to do what they did, exploring how killing became a routine, how these men managed to excuse themselves, how they were manipulated by their leaders. It's the blueprint of a genocide. We hear the killers' thoughts as they wrote them down in letters and diaries at the time, and what they said in court years later. RADICAL EVIL is marked by Oscar®-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s scenic transformations and DoP Benedict Neuenfel's development of a unique visual language.
Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 52/93 min.
Theme: European History, Genocide, History, Holocaust, Society, War
Language(s): English, German
Subtitles: English, German
Director(s): Stefan Ruzowitzky
Producer(s): Wolfgang Richter
Cinematographer: Benedict Neuenfels
Editor(s): Barbara Gies
Excluded regions: Austria, Germany, Switzerland
Radical Evil


  • Press Kit
  • "Drawing on comments from modern authors (Robert Jay Lifton, Dave Grossman etc.) and Nuremberg lawyer Benjamin Ferencz, along with classic psychological experiments, the documentary describes how basic human pathologies of conformity, persuasion, propaganda, desensitization, and deferred responsibility led to “radical evil” (a phrase borrowed from Kant). What is most disquieting here is the suggestion that this wasn’t some malicious sorcery unique to Hitler and European anti-Semitism, but could happen in other societies as well. Highly recommended."
    Video Librarian
  • "Ruzowitzky suggests there was nothing unique about the Nazi killers – and that we might all have done the same in their place."
    The Independent
  • “Not a dry textbook study, but a strong and rousing call to the future, because the psychology of perpetrators will remain with us.”
    Münchner Abendzeitung
  • “An impressive and shocking film about perpetrators, who became the victims of a system, that was radically evil. An intelligent film with a unique stylistic concept and important new insights into the human mind.“
    The German Board of Film Evaluation / FBW
  • “A critical examination of the German past and above all a bitter analysis of how young soldiers of the Wehrmacht could turn into collective mass murderers. A tough topic, but important and well done.”
    Journal Frankfurt

awards & accolades

  • Jerusalem Film Festival - Jewish Experience Award

Festival participation

  • Jerusalem Film Festival 2014
  • Bergen International Film Festival 2014
  • Miami Jewish Film Festival 2014
  • Berlin International Film Festival 2014
  • Festival of Tolerance 2015

viewers comments

Additional Info
Aichholzer Film, ZDF, ORF

Production Company: docMovie
Distribution Company: First hand Films

Radical evil

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