"Helping The World DISCOVER THE WAY of LOVE!"
When I returned to Washington from Vienna, I went to the fifa 15 coins library of the national Holocaust Museum. A scholar had pointed me in the direction of a documentary that contained footage of Hakoah players. Der Führer Schenkt den Juden Eine Stadt, The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews, depicts life in the Czech concentration camp of There- sienstadt. The Nazis had created Theresienstadt as a Potemkin village that they would show to the Red Cross, Danes, and other humanitarians. Here, the Jews attended lectures and performed symphonies. How could there be genocide?
So pleased with their ability to pull the wool over the humanitarian eyes, the Nazis intended to stage Theresienstadt for a far wider audience. They would transpose the images to celluloid and distribute them widely. In the summer of 1944, the Nazis commis- sioned the burly Jewish comic actor and director Kurt Gerron to make the picture. Gerron had become a big name in the Weimar ﬁlm renaissance, a colleague of Marlene Dietrich. But now, he wasn’t just shooting for his reputation; he believed that he could make a ﬁlm that could please the SS enough to save his life.
The Nazis had given Gerron an impossible task. They had asked him to make a ﬁlm without giving him any control over the script or editing. In fact, he died in Auschwitz without having viewed any of the 17,000 feet of ﬁlm that he shot. More than that, the residents of Theresienstadt didn’t lend themselves to propa- ganda. Not even modern special e¤ects could have compensated for the sad faces playing chess or the grim urgency with which children grab pieces of but- tered bread o¤ a plate.
To please the Nazis, Gerron embraced the Nazi style — especially their cult of the body. Women per- form aerobics in short shorts. A shirtless worker brings down his hammer on an anvil holding piping steel. A group of men play soccer. It is the perverse Nazi inver- sion of Muskeljudentum.
Use of free time is left to individuals. Often workers ﬂock to soccer games, Theresien- stadt’s major sports event.
The courtyard of the camp’s old military barracks is used as a ﬁeld. Men and little boys cram the porticos over- looking the dirt pitch. The camera pans to teams dashing into barracks. Like Hakoah, one team wears Jewish stars on its white jerseys. The other wears dark shirts.The teams each have only seven men, due to limited space.