The story is inspired by historical events, documented by hundreds of interviews with German Jewish soldiers and how they and their families survived the war. Despite the incredible power and irony of the matter, the topic remains scarcely known.
While Hitler’s secretive plan for purification worked like a tourniquet twisting slowly on the necks of Germany’s Jewish citizens, the Wehrmacht (German Army) and its soldiers were undergoing a serious identity crisis. After decades of Jewish assimilation in the force, it’s estimated that over 200,000 Jews found themselves fighting on the side of the Nazis, many of whom were soldiers from before Hitler’s crazed views on Jewish character drifted into German policy. As the ideals of the Third Reich pervaded these Jewish soldiers, they were progressively forced to reconsider their perspective on brotherhood and allegiance.
These German Jewish men of Jewish ancestry thus came under various degrees of persecution after the Nazi take over in 1933, many managed to hide their identity, and were called up to army service. Some even wanted to serve their country honorably, in order to prove to other Germans what their Jewish citizens could do, despite the Nazi rumor of "Jewish inferiority" and many Jewish men joined to "hide" in the army and even in the SS. Most of them had their families persecuted or deported while they fought for their lives on the front lines, some were forced to witnessed the executions of Jewish Ghettos in the East, yet many managed to survive to tell their story.
Some of these men were:
Fritz Steinwasser served in the German army many years before the war and the Rise of Hitler. A career Soldier he was on the cover of several magazines as the ideal Aryan soldier. However only until it was discovered he was half Jewish and he was then thrown out of the army and sent to work for a German Labor org. He did however manage to save his grandfather from deportation by showing up in his uniform and speaking for him persistently.
Karl Heinz Lo`ven German and Jewish, he changed name to avoid persecution and fled to France, however after the fall of France the Jewish deportations began there. He tried to enroll in the German army to pre-empt being discovered, but they did not recruit and he was sent to the French Waffen SS office and enrolled in the SS. He served with them for the entire war until surrendering to the French in 1944
Rolf Von Sydov whose grandfather was a Jewish prominent doctor, he enrolled in the German Army before the war simply to serve his country feeling his German identity hoping to prove German Jews could be counted on. He naturally did not disclose to the army his Jewish heritage and served on the eastern front. On the eve of his promotion it was found out that he had lied on his paperwork and he was demoted and sentenced to prison, yet returned to his unit and fought on the Eastern front until taken as POW by the Russians. He spent several years in Russian POW camps. His grandfather died in Theresienstadt KZ camp in 1944.
Edward Jacobi a German Jew who officially changed his religion and enrolled in the German army and served as a combat camera man. He too was discovered after the invasion of France and sent to prison in Germany. Yet here he survived the war due to various logistical errors and the luck that his files were destroyed in a bombing raid.