Is the Zone of Interest Based on a True Story?

The Zone of Interest, which debuts in British cinemas on February 2, 2024, is British director Jonathan Glazer's fourth film in 25 years, following ‘Sexy Beast', ‘Birth', and ‘Under the Skin'.

A difficult film, it follows Rudolf Höss, the commandant of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, and his wife as they establish a prosperous life for themselves and their five children right next to the site where hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

As readers delve into the harrowing narrative and grapple with its themes of love, power, and survival, many may find themselves wondering: Is “The Zone of Interest” based on a true story?

Is the Zone of Interest a true story?

Glazer's The Zone of Interest isn't an original story, as it is based on a book of the same name. The film is an adaptation of Martin Amis' 2014 novel of the same name, with The Zone of Interest book portraying a similar scenario about a Nazi officer who falls in love with the widow of a Nazi commandant.

The book is based on the real-life Nazi officer Rudolf Höss, the longest-serving commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

the Zone of Interest

Hannah and Paul Doll, who are fictionalized versions of Hedwig and Rudolf Höss, were the focus of the Zone of Interest book.

Glazer had intended to adapt The Zone of Interest for nearly a decade, having been intrigued by the novel before it was published. While the film makes some significant alterations to the book, Martin Amis' novel is the primary inspiration for the film.

Not every incident in the movie, even if The Zone of Interest is based on a factual story, actually occurred. Even though some did, The Zone of Interest primarily concentrates on the dynamics of the Höss family, about which not much is known to the public. As a result, the movie contains some speculative and artistic material.

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But there is one significant difference between the book and the movie Zone of Interest. The Höss family from real life is used in Jonathan Glazer's film, not the fictional Doll family.

This does allow The Zone of Interest to concentrate on the actual Nazis who committed the mass atrocities during the Holocaust, which helps make the film more historically realistic.

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