Monday, December 14, 2015

"Naked Among Wolves"--a Film Review

I have seen many films about the Holocaust since the first documentary newsreel I viewed in a local movie theater at age 10. It showed Auschwitz and other concentration camps liberated by the Allies at the end of WWII.  I could not, then, understand the political history of what I saw but I certainly understood the piles and piles of dead bodies who would not experience another sunset, the piles of shoes which would not walk another step, the piles of spectacles the eyes behind which would not see another blue sky, or a loved one, or a mother, a father, a husband, a wife or even see their own children.  The children were prepped by the Nazis for slaughter above all others because those Jewish children after all would grow up to be adults whom they reasoned – Germans were so good at reason — would continue to infect all of Europe.  I knew enough to know that beast of human history dedicated to exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe could have exterminated my family if my grandparents did not have the foresight to leave their dastardly Russian pogrom-overrun home 1/2 century before. 

What I did not see then in newsreels was what it was like, what it actually was like, to experience a slaughter so barbaric, so cruel and so sickening perpetrated by so called civilized human beings on an unfathomable number of 6 – 10 million innocents reflected in the piles of bodies I did actually see in newsreels which made this 10 year old child sick.

“Naked Among Wolves” was one of the most authentic docudramas of that accursed time I have seen.  It was about life in the men’s cell block at Buchenwald.  It was about men worked to death, tortured for the slightest perceived indiscretion, shot simply waiting to die in the filth of their excrement or hoping to live as Allied liberation drew near.  They come upon a 4 year old Jewish boy hidden in a suitcase by his father brought into their midst to save under the gravest most life-threatening conditions.  They try to save him.  You must watch the film to see if they did.

I am of the opinion that one should not shield oneself from this and that one must remember history if history is to have any meaning for us at all. 

When I was a young activist against war I used to say the Holocaust had a purpose, that it was for something higher and that this was perpetrated on so many for a lofty reason.  As I aged and  my political thought took shape I asked where was God that so many innocent human beings were made to suffer for years in dumb anguish.  Now I say god was nowhere as 6-10 million Jews seemingly died for nothing, that the Holocaust had no meaning and no purpose.  It was about hatred of "the other."  “Naked Among Wolves" is a film I believe ALL should, especially in our time, see but suspect few will.  I cry useless tears hoping against hope that human beings will change and that one group will not wipe out “the other” so that, in time, we will not all perish from the earth.