The opening titles, consisting of slow drums and white noise playing over real photographs of Nazi rallies and the death camps and their victims, lead you to expect something grim and harrowing.
The film is not a sequel, though there was an Italian TV movie called Holocaust that it was likely retitled to cash in on
The reconstruction; note the absence of yellow stars
What ensues, however, is a frankly boring piece of Nazisploitation that it is not only difficult to take seriously but which also fails to provide the usual concentration of camp, sleaze and bad taste.
Given the subject matter, that of a group of Nazi hunters tracking down their quarry in 1970s Italy, it might at a pinch be construed as an attempt to convey Hannah Arendt's “banality of evil”. Certainly at one point a Nazi does indicate that he was “only obeying orders.” Even so it hardly makes for entertaining or engaging viewing on the level of, say, SS Experiment Camp or The Beast in Heat – here bracketing any consideration of how distasteful most would undoubtedly find it for anyone to admit to enjoying these films – and completely fails to stimulate deeper thought, other than of the sort one must engage in here in an attempt to make sense of the film for a review.
Part of the trouble is that nothing within the film can really match up to the horror of those initial images – images not seen in most of the other, less self-consciously serious entries – while the flashback sequences fail to convince even by the standards of low-budget war movie reconstructions.
The greater issue, however, is that the way in which the Nazi hunters are presented makes them perilously close to being as bad as their quarry, as they strive to make each revenge attack different from the last and thereby difficult for the authorities to connect together, while also taking a rather broad view of who counts as a legitimate target.
Thus, the son of one Nazi is deemed an acceptable substitute because his father is in hiding, while the wife or daughter of William Berger's ex-officer is stripped naked, has ropes tied around her limbs and is spreadeagled before having her neck broken. (Berger fans should note that, while top billed, he is only on screen for a couple of minutes right at the start.)
An acceptable revenge image
Getting somewhat dubious
One of the curiosities of the film, albeit one which it has in common with a number of other Italian Nazi / Holocaustsploitation entries is that, despite the Holocaust 2 title, it skirts around actually identifying the non-Nazi characters as Jewish. Instead, they are presented as undefined enemies of the regime, although when some of the flashbacks show children rather than adults it is difficult to square this with these selfsame enemies being anything other than ethnically / religiously defined.
Not recommended, except for the completist.