18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This documentary, although put out by Koch Lorber Films in association with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and billed as a film about the Shoah, is actually about WWII and how it was won. Naturally the Shoah is also covered, but as part of the whole story about WWII, not the only or primary subject. There are firsthand accounts, film footage of battles, soldiers, and civilians, excerpts from letters, journals, and communications, footage from movies about WWII, pictures, songs, footage from celebrities entertaining and helping out the troops at canteen shows, and much, much more. Along the way we get insight into different facets and aspects of those years, like from soldiers, people on the homefront, victims of Nazi tyranny, and people in the underground. We also get a lot of anecdotes and vignettes to illustrate what's currently being talked about. Two such anecdotes were the story about the British woman who wanted to do her part for the war effort by hosting 6 American GIs for Sunday lunch before they shipped out for the invasion, but wrote "No Jews, please" on her memo, and in response got 6 African-American soldiers who showed up at her door, telling her that there was no mistake, since Colonel Cohen never makes mistakes, and the moving story about the man who was hiding during an Aktion in one of the ghettoes in Poland and found himself in a room with a woman and her 3 young children. The woman was hiding in a different corner from her children, and her children were caught. One of the boys screamed for her, but his older brother told him in Yiddish, "Zog nicht Mameh," "Don't say Mama," since then that Nazis might capture her too.
Running throughout the film is the Morse Code signal for Victory, dot-dot-dot-dash, which was used all over Europe as a sign that someone was working against the Nazis and was one of the good guys, and a signal that was played on the radio to let people know that things were going well. The symbols making up this word in Morse Code are also played at the bottom of the screen each time we get to a new historical event, with the date it took place or began being inside of the dash. As a final emphasis on this theme, we see that some of the liberated Europeans featured in the film footage near the end have those very symbols, three dots and a dash, sewn onto the backs of their jackets so that when they stand in a row, they're giving the Victory signal.
I kind of wish this documentary had been a little bit longer, given how much happened during those years and how much material there is out there, but one film can't and shouldn't be expected to cover everything on such a monumental subject. As it stands, it's a great introduction to an important historical event.