(1944)

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10/10
A valuable (if dated) view of the positive side of immigration during WWII
banjotom4718 February 2014
This documentary/"short subject" film, shot in 1943 and released in 1944 by RKO Radio Pictures, presents a positive view of the contributions made by the refugees who fled Hitler's Europe. Using a number of fictionalized/acted characters and a few real ones, the case is made that those who were coming to the USA in the 1940s and just before -- from many nations -- not only sought personal asylum and tried to escape from the Nazis' terror, but also brought with them an incredible range of skills and values, thus immeasurably enriching this country. Sometimes the resettlement of the "New Americans" seems exploitive; I cringe every time at the tale of the furniture designer, lauded at home in the old country, who is trained here in the useful skill of furniture upholstery. But the valuable contributions of such well-known luminaries as novelist Thomas Mann and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein -- and of lesser-known ones like my own father, Richard F. Adler, MD, who acquired his degree at the prestigious University of Vienna's medical school, yet came to serve as the principal physician in what we now call an "underserved area" (Frenchburg, Kentucky) -- are revealed in this well-made (and Oscar-nominated) film. This is therefore not only a film of personal significance, but also a valuable document of that turbulent period.
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