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When I first saw this production many years ago, it was broadcast over the local educational TV station as part of Holocaust Observance Week. I still can recall after so much time has passed (over 25 years) just how significantly and profoundly this story then moved me.
The film deals with a subject almost unknown in the USA-----how Hitler managed to LEGITIMATELY rise to the summit of power in Germany during 1932-1933. It also shows with stunning and powerful detail the contemporaneous effect of this fact on an upper middle class Jewish family. As a cinematic lesson in history, it is unparalleled---because it is based upon a novel written at the time these events actually unfolded.
Unfortunately, "The Oppermanns" is also rare and hard to find. But the search is well worth it. Anyone who wonders how such a country as cultured as the German Weimar Republic could evolve into a Nazi dictatorship can see the relevant events take place in almost documentary-like detail. And those who believed that the signs of Hitler's danger to the world in general and the Jews in particular were years away will observe for themselves just how wrong they were.
While we are bombarded continuously by the most trivial and inconsequential "entertainment," a major accomplishment like "The Oppermanns" must languish as an undiscovered classic.
I recently had the opportunity to see this film again. Its power is undiminished----its message (if anything) is even more relevant----and its importance to us today as a great historical document is without question.
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