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Who Actually Was Allowed To Film At Auschwitz? Spoiler Alert: Not Spielberg.

After a Louisiana congressman was condemned by the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for filming at the former concentration camp, the obvious question is when is it okay to film at the historic site. Answer: almost never.

Steven Spielberg was denied permission to shoot on the site when he filmed “Schindler’s List,” so instead his crew set up replicas of spots in the camp and shot video there. And the website of the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum seems to imply that filming is acceptable only for documentary or journalistic purposes; it doesn’t even delve into the question of fictional content in its section on filming permissions.

But there are notable exceptions. In the 1980s, the television channel ABC received the go-ahead to shoot on the Auschwitz grounds for “War and Remembrance,” a 30-hour miniseries about the Holocaust, adapted from Herman Wouk’s novel of the same name. At the time, crew members had concerns about disrespecting the site by using it to film a fictional television show.

“I was looking at the people walking around. We have our lunch breaks in the same barracks where tens of thousands of people were dying and we walk on the same ground and no one pays attention,” assistant director Branko Lustig, an Auschwitz survivor himself, told The New York Times then.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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