Quotes from the Movie Mr. Death

"Fred's story raises lots of interesting questions, such as: What happens if you really need to be loved and the only people who will love you are Nazis? And his version of what he saw in Auschwitz and what happened to him afterward seems to come right out of Nabokov--the clueless narrator, the narrator so far out of touch with what he's saying that it's totally absurd. But how clueless could he possibly be? That's the central mystery. Do we all have these self-invented fables? There's a deep mystery about why Fred's doing what he's doing, and for me it connects with the mystery of the Holocaust: the mystery not of whether it happened but of how it could happen. Is it happenstance that Fred, a person obsessed with death-not unlike me-ended up at Auschwitz? Somehow, he was drawn there, pulled to the center of twentieth-century death. And maybe it's pulling me, too. It's one of my predilections that people do not do evil knowingly. Evil is always construed as some form of doing good. We are always in some kind of delusional state about what our actions mean. I hope this movie becomes more effective if Fred emerges as more a person like you and me. If it's a movie that creates one more Manichaean illustration of good and evil, it becomes less interesting. If he becomes a person who makes us think about how the Holocaust came about, then it's useful."

Errol Morris

"Fred hasn't questioned anything we've asked him to do over the last five days. I haven't lied about anything. I haven't had to; he's too honest and decent a man, I look over all this, and I think he's just misguided. He got mixed up with the wrong group of people. There are people who think he's evil, but he's not. The movie, I think, is becoming a kind of odd danse macabre, with Leuchter as my brand of existential hero, or, if you like, existential antihero: the completely benighted human being who still deserves our sympathy."

Errol Morris

"Part of me has very little desire to get into a debate with Ernst Złndel, David Irving, or even Leuchter. I have read a number of reviewers who have taken me to task for not declaring whether I believe Leuchter is a good person or evil person, that somehow I've been remiss in this regard. I beg to differ. The movie is absolutely clear that his ideas are pernicious and false. That is not up for discussion. What is up for discussion is that I wish to put the viewer in the same position for what I find myself in. It's not to give you on a platter a received view but to force you into the mystery of what is in fact very disturbing and peculiar behavior."

Errol Morris

"Very near the end of my work editing the movie, before it was to be shown publicly for the first time, I invited Fred into my studio to look at what I had done, to give him the opportunity at least to see what was going to be put in front of the public and to comment on it. He told me he liked the moive. He felt that the movie had treated his story fairly and responsibly. And then I presented him with my list of reasons why he's wrong, many of which are in the movie itself. The documents, these powerful documents that are in the Auchwitz archive. German documents. Not allied documents, not Jewish documents, NAZI documents. Nazi documents that make specific reference to all of these things Fred said were not there and could not possibly have been there. Fred's answer: I dunno where these documents came from. I can't vouch for their authenticity. I'll just keep my original position."

Errol Morris

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