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This propaganda piece starts in 1933. Prof. Nichols' American school in Berlin is next door to a school for the Hitler Youth. Karl, from the latter, is attracted to German-American Anna, but events lead to their separation. Six years later, near the outbreak of war in Europe, Anna is removed from Nichols' school on presumption of German citizenship. Nichols becomes obsessed with finding her, as Anna undergoes a rather lurid odyssey through the Nazi nightmare. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie's lead actress Bonita Granville said that this movie was her favorite film because it was one of the rare times that she got top billing and got to play an adult character. See more »
In the 1930s Lieutenant Karl Bruner would have never called Großdeutsches Reich Nazi-Germany. See more »
That was the last we saw of Carl for a long time. He was swept up in the storm - the storm that was sweeping through all of Germany.
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During opening credits, the camera zooms in on a German book burning, and the book on top of the pile is "Education for Death" by Gregor Ziemer. That was another book by the same author of the novel on which this film is based. See more »
Good historical accuracy re Hitler youth & 'lebensborn' rules
I used to think this film quite dated, but still moving.
Now that I know more about Hitler Youth and about "lebensborn", forced sterilization, training in cruelty, and other Hitler Youth goals, this film stands up extremely well.
***What was 'lebensborn'? Basically, those considered "racially pure" were encouraged to have tons of kids...in or out of wedlock. About 10,000 born in Germany & 10,000 born in Norway from German soldier fathers, per one Internet source. Do your own internet search to learn more about "lebensborn".
In the movie, Bonita Granville's character refuses to deliberately sire a child out of wedlock even with her love, Tim Holt.
***Forced sterilization. Bonita's character is threatened with forced sterilization since she is not cooperative. Again, this was a historical Nazi tactic. She would rather undergo the procedure than bring a child into such a regime.
***Hitler Youth cruelty...One sees some of the Hitler youth trained to
be cruel. One need only listen to the old former Hitler Youth speak (some with tears & great sorrow) about various ways they were so abused (i.e. trained to be cruel) by the Nazi regime.
***Harrassment of Christians...The resistance of some Christian leaders to the Nazis. Near the end of the movie, the priest rebukes the Nazis who apparently dare not carry him off for punishment. This happened sometimes...A Christian leader might rebuke the Nazis such as Bishop Von Galen who stood against the destruction of retarded, etc. Some Christian leaders went to jail like Pastor Niemoller. Some Christian leaders were martyred for their stance against Nazis (including anti Jewish policies) like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Here again, the movie is quite timely.
From these main examples, I conclude that this movie is **not** merely propaganda but reflects many historical accuracies (at least what was known at the time). Does it cover all the Nazi atrocities? No. (One movie alone wouldn't be long enough to do so.)
Hitler's Children could be shown on a "Movie in Time" sequence on History Channel. The corrections, amendations to it based on actual history, I predict, would be slight. It's from a book on Nazi education of youth written by educator and correspondent Gregor Ziemer who also taught in the American School in Berlin. (Hit Ziemer's name in the credits for details!)
Don't let the black & white film & slightly older dialogue deter you from using this film to teach yourself (or your kids, or your class) as to how German youth were abused thru Hitler Youth and lebensborn programs.
Do your own research. Verify for yourself. While Hitler's concentration camp murders were the most cruel of his abuses, his other abuses of even the so called "nordic" peoples, especially women and girls, should also be REMEMBERED! (PS real life Hans and Sophie Scholl, college age German resisters to the Nazis, would also be a great research topic!)
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