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Hitler's Jewish Soldiers
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By 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.
About the Director
SPECIAL FEATURES: Chapter Selections, Still Gallery, Director's TV Interview.
Top customer reviews
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.
The film explores the myriad reasons why Jewish soldiers wound up in the German army. Many were drafted when the Nuremberg racial laws contained loopholes for Germans who were 1/4 or 1/8 Jewish. These loopholes were later plugged and kept more Jews from joining. Some lied about their ancestry and joined because it was safer to be a German soldier in combat on the front lines than to be a Jewish civilian in any area under German occupation. Most of these soldiers were just that-soldiers; few were Nazis.
The claim about 40% of the German Army's officers being Jewish is ludicrous. This film pegs the total number of 1/4 and 1/8 Jews at no more than 150,000, and considering the millions of men in German uniform that is a small number indeed. The film also points out that few of the "Mischling" were of high rank. Indeed, many turned down promotions for fear that their ancestry would be discovered. It was easier to be an anonymous Jewish private than officer.
The film is sobering in telling what happened to these soldiers' families. How were these soldiers rewarded for their service? By having their families murdered by the Nazis, the same fate intended for these soldiers once their services were no longer needed.
It is an interesting documentary, though, if you accept the historical fact of the Holocaust. If you are looking for something to confirm your Holocaust denial conspiracy theory, as the previous reviewer apparently is, you should look elsewhere.
Interesting and not so frequently found historical testimonies are provided with DVD technical quality leaving a room for improvement as well as a jacket background depicting a star of David besides swastika, looks ambiguously.
40% of the officers in the German Navy were jews, too. AND highly respected. There is a book on that but I cant remember the title.
Sadly, almost every book on Nazis/WW2/"Holocaust" published today are from "authors" that read 9 books on WW2 and write a tenth, or see 9 movies and make a tenth.
The research wasn't made from Soviet-captured microfiche, but it seems to be documented as good as it can be from not-too-difficult-to-obtain records and archives. 5* to balance out fake votes soon to come. Its a 4* book
How long will it be before this book is attacked for not following the norm? I wonder...