A new documentary is taking a close look at how ordinary men and women conformed to Adolf Hitler's society.
In a PEOPLE exclusive look at the trailer for Final Account, director Luke Holland examines what made an entire generation of people participate in Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust that followed.
Dr. Stephen D. Smith, the Finci-Viterbi Endowed Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, tells PEOPLE, "Understanding who the Nazis were is essential if we want to counter the hateful ideologies of antisemitism and white supremacy we continue to see today."
"I was struck by how much The Final Account reveals about the ordinariness of the people who perpetrate genocide, and how vigilant we must remain as ordinary people today," says Smith.
The documentary took over a decade to make and raises timely questions about authority and conformity, complicity and perpetration, national identity and responsibility. The film features interviews with men and women who were former SS members, as well as civilians, who share their memories and perceptions of their own roles in the Holocaust.
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"Listening to the stories of others and taking them to heart is the prevention advice that I hear most often from survivors of genocide, who say that if you know someone's story, you are less likely to hate them, or at least less likely to want to kill them," says Smith.
Participant, which produced the film, is working with the USC Shoah Foundation—a global organization countering antisemitism and other forms of hatred through testimony—for educational resources on the documentary.
Final Account is in theaters in May.
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