Alternative World War 2-In cinema

I am always intrigued by “What if ?” scenarios, like what if Columbus had taken another route to India? Or what if JFK had not been in Dallas that day?

But what intrigues me most of all is the question “What if the Nazis would have won the war?” or alternatively “What if Hitler would have been killed sooner?” I am not the only one who ponders about these questions. There have been many authors and film makers who had the same idea, and put those ideas on paper and film. I am only selecting a few for this blog.

The picture above is from the 1965 film “It Happened Here”

It is the Second World War. The Nazis have invaded Britain. There is a split between the resistance and those who prefer to collaborate with the invaders for a quiet life. The protagonist, a nurse, is caught in the middle. Following the British army’s retreat at Dunkirk, England has been invaded and conquered by Nazi Germany. Irish nurse Barbara Murray comes to London as part of a civilian evacuation forced by American resistance forces massing off the coast of Ireland. She finds that in order to get a job as a nurse her only choice is to join the pro-Nazi civilian organization known as Immediate Action, which she does even though she is avowedly non-political. However, once in the job, she is faced with complicity in a number of disturbing acts being conducted by Immediate Action.

Fatherland is a 1994 TV film written by Stanley Weiser and Ron Hutchinson and directed by Christopher Menaul as an adaptation of the 1992 novel of the same title by Robert Harris. The film was produced by HBO, starring Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson.

In a world where the Nazis won World War II, Germany has corralled all European countries into a single state called “Germania”, and continues fighting against the Soviet Union. It is now 1964 and Germany’s war crimes against the Jews have so far been kept a secret. Germany believes that an alliance with the United States would finally beat the Soviet war machine. As his 75th birthday approaches, Adolf Hitler wants to talk peace with President Joseph Kennedy . An S.S. homicide detective and an American journalist stumble into a plot to destroy all evidence of the genocide; evidence that could destroy the peace process with America and evidence that Nazi and S.S. leaders will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger and Mélanie Laurent. The film tells an alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany’s leadership—one planned by Shosanna Dreyfus, a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, and the other by the British but ultimately conducted solely by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine. Christoph Waltz co-stars as Hans Landa, an SS colonel in charge of tracking down Raine’s group.

Strange Holiday is a 1945 American movie directed by Arch Oboler. Claude Rains features as a man who returns from a fishing vacation to find America controlled by fascists. Businessman John Stevenson returns from a camping holiday in the mountains to discover the whole of America has been taken over by foreign invaders. His family has been taken away and he is thrown into prison and must come to terms with the new USA.

So if you are ever bored I would recommend you look up these movies and watch them.

sources

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038125/?ref_=tt_mv_close

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/?ref_=tt_mv_close

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109779/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055024/

Ghetto Fighters’ House Talking Memory – Austrian Cinema during the Nazi Regime Between Alliance and Resistance – 23.1.22

The Ghetto Fighters’ House – Itzhak Katzenelson Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum– known as the “House” – is not only the first Holocaust museum in the world but also the first of its kind to be founded by Holocaust survivors. Since its establishment in 1949, the museum tells the story of the Holocaust during World War II, emphasizing the bravery, spiritual triumph and the incredible ability of Holocaust survivors and the fighters of the revolt to rebuild their lives in a new country about which they had dreamed – the State of Israel.

Last Sunday I had the privilege to attend a zoom session organized by the Ghetto Fighters’ House . The session was about Austrian Cinema during the Nazi Regime. It was very interesting and intriguing. One thing that I hadn’t been aware of was that Jewish actors were already banned to play in Austrian movies before the ‘Anscluss’

This is the recorded session.

source

https://www.gfh.org.il/eng/About_the_Museum

Boycotting the Cinema-A small act of resistance.

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The majority of the Jews in the Netherlands were killed during the Holocaust, The estimates vary from 100,000 to 104,000. It would be too easy to say that this was because the Dutch were willing participants in the Nazi ideology, because for the majority this wasn’t the case.

The large number and percentage of Jewish victims in the Netherlands compared to say to Belgium and France can be explained in the first place by the fact that in the Netherlands, the German police had sole authority over the organization and execution of the deportations, independently of the occupying regime and the local authorities. This doesn’t mean the German police weren’t helped by the Dutch,because they were . Some of the Dutch collaborators made a profit out of it.

On the other hand there was also the fact that the Dutch had a very efficient citizens registry, which made it easy for the Nazis to find the Jewish citizens.

What I find most disturbing is the fact that although the majority didn’t help the Nazis, many did turn a blind eye. or simply did nothing, which I think is just as bad as collaborating.

The persecution of Jews did not happen overnight, Gradually new laws were introduced undermining the Jews in daily life.

On January 8 1941 Jews were forbidden to enter cinemas, this led to a call to boycott cinemas. Posters with the texts “Boycott this Cinema” and “No hate for Jews in the Netherlands” were posted on the doors of cinemas. Sometimes they also had posters protesting low salaries.

boycott

In February 1941 there was also a nationwide workers strike,in defense of persecuted Dutch Jews and against the anti-Jewish measures and activities  the Nazis in general.The strike was organized after a number  of arrests and raids  by the Nazis in the Jewish area of Amsterdam. It started on 25 February 1941 ; on 26 February, 300,000 people joined the strike. The strike was violently stopped  by the German occupiers after three days

Despite the inaction of many Dutch there were many others who risked their lives helping their Jewish neighbours.

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Sources

NIOD

Films

Nazis and cinema

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1990-1002-500,_Besuch_von_Hitler_und_Goebbels_bei_der_UFA_retouched

Ever since its inception , the media of  film has been a perfect tool to inform the masses be it in an entertaining way or in a more sinister manner.

It was and still is the perfect way to distribute propaganda material en mass, although in more recent  years social media has taken over that reign.

Don’t get me wrong I love movies I sill see that they do a lot more good then harm, it is a great way just to escape the daily strife for an hour or two. However it doesn’t take away the fact that they have been used to promote evil causes.

No matter what you think of the Nazis, they were masters of propaganda and were able to use it in the most efficient way possible. They understood the power of cinema/ At relatively ‘low’ costs they were able to distribute their warped ideology on a large scale by using propaganda movies.

Marika Rökk

They varied from short documentaries to massive cinematic productions that rivaled Hollywood in many ways.

Hitler was a big movie fan,prior to the war he spent night after night watching feature films and newsreels. He sometimes watched two, even three films, either at his mountain residence in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof, or in Berlin at the Reich Chancellery.

Not only German films, but also American,French, and British films, in the original language.Although  Hitler only spoke German he would rely on synopses given by his aides about the movies he was about to watch.

He was a great Walt Disney fan but also loved Laurel and Hardy movies. Ironically the movie “Swiss Miss” which featured Grete Natzler(aka Della Lind) an Austrian Jewish actress  who had fled Germany in 1933, was one of his favourite movies.

Swissmisscard

Short movies like “Erbkrank” -“”The Hereditary Defective” were made  yo gain public support for the T-4 Euthanasia program. the euthanasia of mentally disbled . This film, as  others, were made with actual footage of patients in German psychiatric hospitals.

erbkrank-05952897-ed76-4b5a-a07f-38a1c359944-resize-750

Goebbels, the self appointed “Patron of the German film”, thought, cirrectly that a national cinema which was entertaining and put glamour on the government would be a more effective propaganda instrument than a national cinema where the NSDAP and their policy would have been ubiquitous. Goebbels wanted  to end the ‘moral’ corruption that he thought could be found in the former movie industry. The main goal of the Nazi film policy was to promote escapism, which was designed to distract the population and to keep everybody in good spirits.

Aside from the glamorous movies and the short documentaries promoting T4, a great number of big budget open propaganda movies were made. Documentaries like Der Sieg des Glaubens( The Victory of Faith) and Triumph des Willens(Triumph of the Will),  which were records of the Nuremberg rallies, and newsreels.

Directors like Herbert Gerdes and Leni Riefenstahl were pivotal in the production of these movies.Leni Riefenstahl’s career was not damaged by her involvement the Nazi party and her closeness to Adolf Hitler, after the war she still made several award winning documentaries.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_152-42-31,_Nürnberg,_Leni_Riefenstahl_mit_Heinrich_Himmler (1)

 

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Cine Rex V2 attack

 

le-rex10It is amazing how big event can sometimes overshadow smaller but nonetheless awful events. A friend of mine had mentioned the event of Cine Rex to me.

On the 16th of December the German launched one last offensive campaign in the Ardennes which is widely know as the battle of the Bulge.

history_german_advances_battle_of_the_bulge_speech_sf_still_624x352

On Dec. 16 the Germans launched their pincer attack on Antwerp. Half a million German soldiers burst upon 830,000 Americans. For 10 days they advanced.

On that same day  at 15.20, a V-2 rocket fired from the Netherlands by the SS Werfer Battery 500 directly landed on the roof of the cinema during a showing of The Plainsman.

the_plainsman_poster

There were approximately 1,100 people inside the cinema and the explosion killed 567 people including 296 Allied servicemen (194 further servicemen were injured) and 11 buildings in total destroyed.

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The rockets were more then likely launched from the Hague in the Netherlands

denhaagfront004

The destruction was total. Afterwards, many people were found still sitting in their seats, stone dead. For more than a week the Allied authorities worked to clear the rubble. Later, many of the bodies were laid out at the city zoo for identification.

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The death toll was 567 casualties to soldiers and civilians, 291 injured and 11 buildings were destroyed. 296 of the dead & 194 of the injured were U.S., British, & Canadian soldiers. This was the single highest death total from one rocket attack during the war in Europe.

rex-001-2

It took nearly a week to dig all the bodies out of the rubble. It was the single highest death total from a single rocket attack during the war.Following the attack all public performance venues were closed and the town council ordered that a maximum of 50 people were allowed to congregate in any one location.

Antwerp had been hit by both V1 and V2 rockets between October 1944 and March 1945

During the V-weapon onslaught, over a period of 175 days and nights, the German launching crews fired more than 4,000 V-1s and more than 1,700 V-2s at greater Antwerp. Of those, 106 V-1s and 107 V-2s hit the heart of the city. During that period more than 3,700 civilians were killed and some 6,000 injured in the provence of Antwerp. Only about 30 percent of the V-2s launched against Antwerp reached the city. The rockets that were off-target kept falling all around the Antwerp area and often very far away from the port area. Several factors come into play for the modest number of V-2s Antwerp suffered each day, but the main reasons were the German bottleneck in their alcohol and liquid oxygen supply and the enormous dispersion of the still imperfect weapon.

In March 1945 TIME magazine had called Antwerp “The City of Sudden Death”

As for the Cinema itself it was rebuilt in 1947 but was demolished in 1995.

de_keyserlei

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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