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Colette

Documentary on Mittelbau-Dora Wins Oscar

A British-French film team accompanied Colette Marin-Catherine, a one-time member of the French Résistance, on her journey to the former Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in Nordhausen. Her brother Jean-Pierre Catherine had died there in March 1945 of the damage caused to his health by brutal forced labour. The filmic investigation has now been awarded an Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, which happened to take place on the protagonist’s 93rd birthday.

Jean-Pierre Catherine was committed to the Natzweiler concentration camp in late 1943 and transferred to Mittelbau-Dora in February 1945. He died on 22 or 23 March 1945 in the Boelcke-Kaserne subcamp, Mittelbau-Dora’s main camp for the sick and dying, located in the town of Nordhausen. The SS cited ‘heart failure’ as the cause of death.

‘The Oscar pays tribute not only to the fates of the siblings Colette and Jean-Pierre Catherine, but also to the many tens of thousands of members of the resistance deported to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp from all over Europe’, notes Jens-Christian Wagner, the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation. ‘Thousands died there performing forced labour for armaments projects the Nazis believed would guarantee their “final victory”. This moving film is a monument to the inmate labourers and all who lost a brother, father, or husband. Our thanks and congratulations to the film team—and above all to Colette Marin-Catherine!’

The film Colette was produced by The Guardian and is available online free of charge at:
 https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2020/nov/18/colette-a-former-french-resistance-member-confronts-a-family-tragedy-75-years-later.