Hitler's Jewish Soldiers Review
Hitler's Jewish Soldiers tells the relatively unknown story of how some German men who were part-Jewish served in Hitler's army before the advent of World War Two and even during World War Two. In 1935 a German law went into effect that men who were partly Jewish ("mischling," which means "mutt" in German), could be drafted into the Nazi army that was out to destroy not only their Jewish relatives but the entire Jewish race as well. Although this is not the biggest story of the war ever told, German men who were partly Jewish did indeed serve in the German forces and thus, as director Larry Price states in his interview on this DVD, this documentary takes a "fresh look" at an aspect of World War Two that few people ever knew or even thought about.
The archival footage is very well laid out and we get the general history of how Germany would draft the "mischling" or boot them out of the army at their discretion. Some of the footage is a bit tough to take but most of it is not that graphic. In addition, the documentary focuses on the individual stories of five men who were all partly Jewish; and these men experienced harrowing, nightmarish days and nights for years at a time when they served as Hitler's soldiers. Their reward was survival; but sadly most if not all of their family members were killed in Hitler's concentration camps just like the majority of Jews were killed in that part of the world during World War Two.
I mentioned that the film focuses on the specific stories of five men in particular; and it does this very nicely. There is quite a bit of candid, recent interview footage of these five men which is invaluable since that age group is gradually dying off and not all of the men interviewed are still living today. We meet Werner Goldberg who was featured both in a Berlin newspaper and on a recruiting poster as being "the ideal German soldier." Hans-Geert Falkenberg was drafted into the German war machine despite the fact that he hated to have to join it; Helmut Kopp had to hide his religious belongings and photos of his family in order to survive in the German army and Ephraim Glazer secretly hid the fact that he was an orthodox Jew who had graduated from a religious school. Moreover, Arno Spitz has another remarkable story to tell--not just of his being in Hitler's army but also the story of what happened to him when he was captured by Americans near the end of the war.
The DVD is a bit short on extras but what we do get is very good. There is copy of a brief television interview with director Larry Price and there are still photos of German soldiers and others taken during the 1930s and 1940s. You can choose to view the photos one at a time or as a slideshow.
I recommend this movie to anyone studying the history of World War Two; people of Jewish heritage and even other backgrounds may find it interesting as well.
Hitler's Jewish Soldiers Overview
Director: Larry PriceBy Nazi law anyone who was 25% Jewish was a Jew. Remarkably many of these partial Jews or "Mischlinge" (the German word for "mutt") were proud Germans with roots that went back hundreds of years. Many were drafted into the Nazi army.This fascinating documentary examines the life of four men who faced this paradox. "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers" tells an engrossing story of madness and vicious absurdity; a study into the systematic mind of Hitler's personal chaos.DVD Special Features (subject to change):Chapter Selections Still Gallery Director's TV Interview.System Requirements:Running time: 60 Mins. Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/MISC. Rating: NR UPC: 825307917796
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