Apparently meant as a companion piece to TNT’s recent telepic “The Man Who Captured Eichmann,” “Nazi Hunters Stalking Evil” is tabloid TV-meets-Nazis 101, an uneasy pairing of re-enactments and gruesome archival cullings that comes very close to being pornographic.
With Ben Kingsley narrating Amy Walter Richards and David M. Bryant’s newsreel-style prose as an overlay, “Nazi Hunters” is broken down into four brief segments: the capture, trial and hanging of Hitler’s “Final Solution” architect Adolf Eichmann; the search for “Angel of Death” Mengele, the doctor who performed his gruesome torture at Auschwitz and ended up drowned in Paraguay; American complicity in hiding “Butcher of Lyon” Klaus Barbie; and the frightening rise of neo-Nazi gangs here and in Europe. Re-enactments of relatively trivial aspects of these tales are set off by documentary footage from the camps, an unconscionable juxtaposition. There’s no information here not readily available elsewhere. The 44 minutes of film leave plenty of time for commercials, after which Kingsley soberly announces, “And now back to ‘Nazi Hunters Stalking Evil’ on TNT!” I don’t doubt the motives of either the filmmakers or the people who participated in this project, but the result is grotesque, a caricature of a documentary that trivializes, however unintentionally, the misery and torment of the millions. Something sacred lies in these images of the dead and dying, and something approaching religious dispensation ought to be required for their use.