Next on the screen is the dramatisation of the incredible but true story of a Jewish teenager, Salomon Perel, who survived World War II by living as a Nazi for seven years

 HITLERJUNGE SALOMON – EUROPA EUROPA!

(1991, 114 min., dir. Agnieszka Holland (In Darkness), starring Marco Hofschneider, English subtitles)

DATE: 18 MARCH

TIME: 5.00 p.m.

VENUE: Howard College, MTB West Wing, 1st Floor, German Programme, Media Room F251

About the film:

This film is based on the true story of a young German Jew who survived the Holocaust by falling in with the Nazis. Solomon Perel (Marco Hofschneider) is the son of a Jewish shoe salesman coming of age in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler. In 1938, a group of Nazis attack Solomon’s family home; his sister is killed, and 13-year-old Solomon flees to Poland. Solomon winds up in an orphanage operated by Stalinist forces; when German forces storm Poland, Solomon’s fluent German allows him to join the Nazis as a translator, posing as Josef Peters, an ethnic German. In time, “Joseph Peters” is made a member of the elite Hitler Youth, but since Solomon is circumcised, he can be easily revealed as a Jew, and he lives in constant fear that his secret will be discovered. Solomon’s close calls include an attempted seduction by Robert Kellerman (André Wilms), a homosexual officer, and his relationship with Leni (Julie Delpy), a beautiful but violently anti-Semitic woman who wants to bear his child for the glory of the master race. Europa, Mark Deming, Rovi (www.rottentomatoes.com)

 

The achievement of the director, Angniszka Holland, who also wrote the script, is in making a deeply disturbing film that is at once accessible and engaging. The smooth direction, superb production values, and assured technique convey epic sweep without excess or melodrama. Refusing to judge Solly, Holland presents him as a boy who did what he did to survive. The film’s breathless pacing assures that the viewers have no time to ponder about issues of religion or ideology. The incidents bounce along so rapidly that one can hardly grasp the twists and turns in this amazing saga. Like Holland’s latest film, “In Darkness,” which also deals with the Holocaust, the tone of “Europa, Europa” is highly moralistic, but this film is also imbued with comic vision and humor that her former work lacks. At the end of the movie, the real Solomon Perel is briefly seen living in Israel. Facing the camera, he offers a thanksgiving hymn. He seems bewildered, as if he himself can’t believe his story.

An ironic, complex film, “Europa, Europa” is a gripping tale about the absurd unpredictability of human destiny. https://www.emanuellevy.com/review/europa-europa-2/

 

For more details please contact:

Dr Marion Pape

German Programme

Tel: 0027-31-260 1086

Fax: 0027-31-260 1242

email: papem@ukzn.ac.za

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