Is Forgive Us Our Trespasses Based on a True Story?

‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses,’ directed and co-written by Ashley Eakin, is a short film that depicts the awful way disabled people were hunted down in Nazi Germany. Set in 1939, it follows a young child with a limb difference, Peter Weber (Knox Gibson), as he finds himself on the run to try to save his life, only to understand that he’d have to battle to turn things around. This Netflix original drama is so extremely gloomy, but it also tugs at the heartstrings for a variety of reasons. So, shall we find out whether it’s based on a genuine story or not?

Is There a True Story Behind Forgive Us Our Trespasses?

‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses’ is most likely based on a factual story. After all, while there may be no records of a Peter Weber in such a position, there were innumerable others who were targeted by German officials. It didn’t matter if they were youngsters or adults; they were all exposed to this atrocity from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s as part of Adolf Hitler’s ambition of changing the world’s genetic make-up. He perceived impairments, or rather anything unknown to him, as a negative and opted to eradicate them from the face of the Earth.

According to the short video, Hitler formed the Aktion T4 program for this very goal, giving instructions for people with impairments to be exterminated involuntarily after being taken into custody. Psychiatric institutions and church-run asylums were allegedly the two key venues where these mass murders were allegedly initially carried out, around two years before the commencement of the Holocaust. His actual explanation for this demand is unknown, but rumour abound that, in addition to restoring the country’s “purity,” conserving money was a major consideration.

The latter was addressed in the film by exposing the reality of how caring for a “person with a hereditary condition” costs more through a math lesson. Nonetheless, it was made clear that killing them was neither “productive” nor “humane.” However, by 1945, almost 300,000 disabled people had been heinously murdered under the secret Aktion T4 programme, and an additional 400,000 had been positively sterilised. As if that weren’t enough, its application was also responsible for the invention of the gas chamber technology utilised in World War II concentration camps.

There’s a reason why the title of this film is ‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses’ — a line directly lifted from a Bible prayer; it’s to emphasise that forgiveness is what matters most, even when necessary resistance is required. Through Peter’s views, the addition of the belief that the value of a life cannot be assessed in any way, shape, or form further brings out true issues that have been heavily explored in recent years.

When that is mixed with the vision of Nazi Germany, it is clear that, while this Netflix original may not be a word-for-word retelling of someone else’s story, it is most likely inspired by real-life events. It depicts a period in history that many people have forgotten, one that compels us to evaluate what actually matters in life.