This film is part of Free
Artist-activist Liz Crow's haunting film about the Nazis' Aktion-T4 programme during World War Two. In 1939 Germany, a secret institution has sinister plans for its disabled inmates.
In September 1939, the Nazis instituted their first official programme of murder. Known as Aktion-T4, it targeted disabled people and became the blueprint for the Final Solution to wipe out Jews, gay people, gypsies and other social groups. With a rise in hate crime, disabled children still excluded from mainstream schools, and over 340,000 disabled people living in institutions, disabled people still experience those historical values as a daily threat.
In 2008 writer and director Liz Crow developed Resistance, a 12-minute short film, to highlight these issues for a modern audience. Set in Germany in 1939, it follows Elise, a patient who sweeps an institution for disabled people. She doesn’t speak and the staff assume she doesn’t understand, but she watches everything, including the buses of patients that leave full and return empty. Resistance initially toured with its companion film Resistance Conversations, forming part of Resistance on Tour, a moving image installation project, which travelled from 2010-14 to key cities in the UK, Dublin and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center. Beginning with Hitler’s authorisation of the Aktion-T4 programme, the installation chronicles the journey to today, where hate crime, increased pre-natal screening and abortion and a race to assisted suicide challenge the worth of disabled people’s lives and their right to exist. In August 2009, Resistance extended its reach to a durational performance on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth as part of Antony Gormley’s One & Other project. Seated on her wheelchair, Liz donned full Nazi regalia to draw attention to the anniversary of this hidden history and the message it holds for people today. The performance was featured in The Guardian’s Trafalgar Top Ten on the plinth, whilst a spokesperson for One & Other said Twitter had “gone ballistic”.