Churchill's German Army
One of the less widely known stories of
World War 2 is that of the Germans who actively defied Nazi rule by
taking up arms against their countrymen and the might of the National
Socialist war machine.
From the time of the Nazi ascension to
power in 1933 until the end of the war a dozen years later, some 10,000
Germans and Austrians, many of them Jews, aided the British Government
in bringing about the downfall of Nazi rule. Many risked torture and
execution by acting as spies, double agents or intelligence officers,
and a large number of those who fled to England, having already escaped
the horrors of Hitlerís regime, chose to go back into occupied territory
to fight on the side of the Allies.
Through a typically adroit combination of
personal testimonies and dramatic wartime footage, Churchillís German
Army tells the stories of four such men Ė Adolf Hezberg, Klaus Adam,
Willy Hirschfield and Horst Pinschewer Ė who risked their own lives to
volunteer for the British armed forces. To more easily pass themselves
off as British they adopted the aliases by which they are still known Ė
Bill Howard, Ken Adam (who has since been knighted), Willy Field and
Geoffrey Perry Ė and set off to fight against, in some cases, former
friends and neighbours.
To this day the four men meet up each month
in London, where they each live, to reminisce on the time they, as
Ďfriendly aliens,í joined the ranks of Churchillís German army. Itís a
tremendously moving tale, and the bravery and stoicism demonstrated
within truly inspiring. Highly recommended for history buffs, and those
who like their WWII docos kept short, sharp and to the point.
Audio & Video
The quality of the footage necessarily
varies due to its age, but on both the contemporary and vintage fronts
the image is clean and sharp throughout. The producers have sourced
some excellent shots of the D-Day landings and other iconic moments of
WWII, and the 16:9 presentation is effective. The only audio is a
perfectly acceptable English DD 2.0. There are no subtitles.
Included as an extra is Untold Stories
of WWII, a bonus documentary that strangely enough actually runs
longer, at 55 minutes, than the main feature. It tells the story of the
Nazi occupation of Finland, Hitlerís thirst for the atom bomb and the
stories of those who dared to undermine his regime in any manner
possible. The print doesnít look to have been restored and shows
numerous artefacts, but the picture quality isnít too bad overall and
the story is an interesting one. All in all itís a well-chosen bonus
feature that both augments the main documentary and helps compensate for
its modest runtime.