photographs / drawings







is a meditation on eleven photographs and two drawings of a Polish prisoner of war who was forced to participate with a German prostitute in a deep cold and rewarming experiment conducted by Dr. Sigmund Rascher at Dachau in 1942. The film leads to the evidence in several countries and searches for an appropriate interpretation and remembrance of the event. In the collection of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial and shown there regularly for international study groups. Director: Peter Thompson. Cinematographer: Peter Thompson. Editor: Greg Snider. 1986. 23 minutes.



"As the Director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, I have had the opportunity to view a considerable number of documentaries recalling the fate of those resisting or suffering the Nazi regime. Often filmmakers are striving to reconstruct history on a large scale…. Your film uses a completely different approach. Indeed, you offer the viewer a new mode of vision. Using only a few photographs and drawings which you collected from different people and in different countries, you concentrate on one person, only. With minimal sources, underlined by the account of your search for information, the film becomes an extraordinarily moving experience…. Visitors from more than one hundred different countries visit Dachau each year. Most are young people. There are many discussions and seminars where these young people coming from different cultural backgrounds try to find the meaning of the lesson that can be learned in Dachau today. Your film "Universal Hotel" has proven to successfully stimulate intercultural discussions. Spectators are moved by this small, forgotten piece of history presented in an unconventional way. It might help them to understand and perhaps learn from the past." --Barbara Distel, Director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, letter to filmmaker, July 3, 1989

"'To complete this film, Thompson had to visit six separate archives in seven countries to find the complete sequence of 12 photographs." --Robert A. Cohn, ST. LOUIS JEWISH LIGHT, Sept. 20, 1989

"Thompson sees himself (and, by implication, everyone) living between the dynamics of family and history. For Thompson, the tendency to render the individual anonymous, the inevitability of personal loss, and the delicate transitoriness of human relationships are the benchmarks of universal citizenship." --Steve Harp AFTERIMAGE, Summer 1988