Friday, 1 June 2012

Movie Date: Napola - Elite für den Führer

One of the things I was worried about when I moved to Germany was Nazis. Yes, I know they don't particularly exist anymore. There are such things as the Neo-Nazis but they have a different principle from the one Hitler had in mind. My concern was more to how sensitive bringing up this subject would be. It's probably like the 9/11 to Americans. However, it's probably more sensitive. It turns out to be not as sensitive as I thought. To the elderlies probably but to those younger (around 40-50), it's not all that sensitive at all. Of course, forming your sentences and your relationship to the person you talk to become to of the greatest factor to decide how they will react. In my classes, especially history class, it's almost impossible NOT to bring up the subject. Speaking of which, my history teacher, Mr. Borchers, introduced us to this film a few months back -- which then became my favourite Nazi-themed movie yet -- Napola: Elite für den Führer.

It has many titles in many different languages. In America -- and internationally, it is called Before The Fall. However, I prefer the original title. It translates in English, directly, as Napola: Elites for the Leader. Der Führer (the leader) is a widely known nickname for Adolf Hitler a.k.a. the mind behind the Nazis -- and the many cruel and needless genocide that followed. If I'm not mistaken, this film was based on true story. Well, at least the school was real. Napola was an elite school for young men who wanted -- or was forced by their parents -- to join the Nazi. According to this film, it was located far from the city -- much like all of their concentration camps. It was a lot like military school...maybe even exactly that. But they still taught literatures and the like. Sad to say, there were no familiar faces in this film for me but one man interested me: Jonas Jägermeyr, who played Christoph in this film. If you've watched Dead Poet Society, I should warn you how much this film reminds me of it. However, there's no idolized teacher here. None of the teachers here seemed fitting to be a role model.

Friedrich Weimer was a young man, who was passionate about boxing. He usually went to his gym to train with his trainer until, one day, as he was training, a Nazi soldier saw his potential and offered him a boxing scholarship to Napola. All he thought of was the boxing part and not anything about the Nazi. As soon as he told his parents, they forbade him from going. So he sneaked out the next morning and hitched a ride to Napola, leaving his parents a letter. Once he arrived in Napola, he met Christoph, Albrecht and two other boys who would be his roommates. Friedrich still trained boxing everyday with a personal trainer. Aside from boxing, he formed a friendship with Albrecht. He found out that Albrecht was the son of the great Sergeant Stein and, of course, was forced by his father to join the Nazi. He himself was actually a pacifist. Since he saw Friedrich in a boxing match, the Sergeant grew quite fond of him and showed that quite obviously when Friedrich went home with Albrecht on a holiday. One day, the students had a bomb training, where they were told to ignite a bomb and throw it as far away as possible. One of the students got scared and dropped the bomb after igniting it. Everyone -- even the teacher -- was scared to death. One other student covered up the bomb, playing the hero, and exploded to death. That made Albrecht even more shaken and scared, especially since the teacher fled the location first before the student even sacrificed himself, leaving the other students to their own fates. After he couldn't take it anymore, he wrote an essay as homework on the behaviour of his Nazi soldier, emphasizing on his father, and read it in front of the class. His rebellious action got to Friedrich, who got shaken and rethought his choice.

So far in my life, I've watched around three serious films focusing on the Nazi: Napola, Diary of Anne Frank and The Boy in Striped Pajamas. None of these, I tell you, ends happily. Anne Frank was the first thing that got me thinking about the Nazis -- one of the saddest films I watched before I even hit puberty. It constantly surprises me how oblivious the germans were about what the Nazis were actually doing. Oh, I've also watched Valkyrie and Mein Führer. But I think Valkyrie doesn't really focus on the cruelty of the Nazis and Mein Führer is just plain hilarious. This film makes me hate the Nazi yet even more. The behaviour of the soldiers and the teachers just baffle me. Sometimes I think it's a miracle how this ideal stopped and a wonder that with so many people against that ideal that it spread quite quickly and largely and for so long. So here's to a little twist to your movie dates, all! Have a wonderful Friday and marvelous weekend! Cheerio!

2 comments:

  1. just do not forget who financed the nazis. it where the anglo-americans and till today nazi movement in usa is not forbidden!!
    so A.Hitler lost the war for sure - but the nazis won the war though not in europe - at least not in the open

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    Replies
    1. Whoa, really? That is some insight! I wish you weren't anonymous so we could talk abt this further. Anyway, it still exists in Germany as well, although, of course not openly. But the majority of mankind out here knows its existence.

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