Aryan Papers is a project that was supposed to be directed and written by Stanley Kubrick but was never finished. As early as 1976, Kubrick stated that he wanted to make a Holocaust film. In the early 1990s, he almost went into production on a film adaptation of a novel called Wartime Lies.
The film, based on the book by Louis Begley Jr., was set in Poland during the Nazi occupation of WWII, telling the story through the eyes of a ten-year-old who recalls how his Aunt protected him by passing them off as Catholics in order to survive. By August 1991, Kubrick had completed his first draft of a screenplay, based on months of reading the novel “Wartime Lies” and researching its plot, background, and settings. He decided to call the movie Aryan Papers, a nod to the pair’s crucial need to obtain official documents identifying them as Aryans.
However, the project was never completed. One of the reasons was the news of Steven Spielberg’s plans for Schindler’s List. Kubrick and the top brass at Warner Brothers were worried that The Aryan Papers would suffer commercially if it appeared after Spielberg’s movie. It was widely accepted that the box office for his earlier Vietnam war-themed feature Full Metal Jacket had been affected by appearing after Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Kubrick didn’t want to suffer the same experience twice. The audience, he feared, wouldn’t countenance two Holocaust films at the same time.