What's in a name? Ask Bettina Goering, Katrin Himmler and Rainer Hoess. For decades, Germany has grappled with its collective guilt over the Third Reich, but for the progeny of the regime's chief architects, the matter hits far closer to home.
Chanoch Ze'evi, the Israeli director of the thoughtful and affecting documentary "Hitler's Children," conducted interviews with five descendants of key Nazi figures. Though Ze'evi's creative choices don't always serve the material — he unwisely attempts to pump up the emotional volume with an intrusive music score — his compassion for his subjects is clear, and their straightforward testimony is provocative.
They've adopted varied ways of addressing their legacy. Hermann Goering's great-niece, who experienced her surname as "carrying the baggage of German society around with me," left Germany. She mentions almost in passing that she and her brother took decisive medical action, undergoing sterilization, to ensure an end to the family line.
But Heinrich Himmler's great-niece dismisses the importance of bloodlines — a tenet of Nazi doctrine — as fallacious (she uses a stronger word) and sees no reason to fear that she might pass on a dark inheritance.