Tag Archives: World War II

World on Fire Character Review: Uwe & Claudia Rossler

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When we meet Uwe & Claudia Rossler (Johannes Zeiler and Claudia Mayer) in World on Fire, their introduction comes by way of their neighbor, Nancy Campbell (Helen Hunt). They have two children, Klaus and Hilda. While Klaus is away fighting for his country, his parents deal with an internal battle at home. Hilda is living with a medical condition, that if known to the authorities, would put her life in danger. They decide to hide their daughter’s illness and ignore what they are hearing about children being killed for having physical and mental special needs.

Uwe is a business owner who is under constant pressure to fall in line with the regime. Acting against his own conscious and the need to protect his daughter, he reluctantly joins the Nazi party. Then life forces Uwe and Claudia to deal with a fork in the road. Somehow, it gets out that their daughter is sick. Claudia makes the devastation decision to kill herself and Hilda, leaving a heartbroken husband behind. When Uwe kills one of his employees who is an avid supporter of the government, he turns to Nancy to hide the body.

To sum it up: Change only comes when we feel uncomfortable. Comfort creates complacency, for better or for worse. Uwe and Claudia are initially comfortable, safe in the knowledge that as heterosexual Christians, they will be left to live in peace. It is only when they are uncomfortable that they make certain decisions that will forever change the course of their lives.

Which is why they are memorable characters.

This will be my last Character review post for World on Fire. The next group of characters I will be writing about are…come back next week and find out.

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Those Who Don’t Learn From History are Doomed to Repeat it: You Know Who Acquitted Again

In 1923, a future German Dictator who shall remain nameless led a failed coup that history would recall as the Beer Hall Putsch. Ten years later, his second attempt at joining the government was successful. The rest, as we all know, is history.

Yesterday, you know was was again acquitted of all charges relating to the riot on January 6th. Though 57 members of the senate checked off the guilty box (including several Republicans), 67 were needed for an official verdict.

Though some have argued that having 57 votes by itself is a victory, I don’t see it that way. By formalizing that he was guilty of lighting the fire that ignited the events of that day, the message would have been clear. But because he was declared innocent, the message is scarily opaque.

The fact is that everyone who was in the building that day was in danger. It didn’t matter if they voted red, blue, purple, or another color. Did they not hear the chant “Hang Mike Pence“? Did they not see the news that pipe bombs were placed at both Republican and Democrat headquarters that morning?

I thank those who voted that you know who was guilty, especially if they lean politically right. They had the courage to do what was the right thing, knowing full well the backlash they may receive. Those who didn’t are nothing but cowards.

Several members of the Republican party were seen doing anything but paying attention. Some actively chose to not attend the hearings at all. What gets my goat is that though Mitch McConnell voted not guilty, he still made a statement afterwards that you know who was responsible for the riot.

Others have said that history will be the ultimate judge. In a sense, it is comforting. I understand what they are saying, but I am more concerned about today than tomorrow. Most, if not all of us are taught when we are young, that there are consequences relating to our actions. This message is obviously lost on you know who and his traitorous supporters.

If there is a glimmer of hope, it is that come the next midterm elections, the voters get rid of these hypocritical turncoats. Until then, we must remain vigilant to ensure that this never happens again.

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World on Fire Character Review: Henriette Guilbert

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. During World War II, as the noose was growing tighter around Europe’s Jewish community, choices had to be made. Some chose to adapt to the new normal as best they could. Others tried to leave via whatever means were open to them. A third group hid, whether in plain sight or away from prying eyes. On World on Fire, Henriette Guilbert (Eugénie Derouand) is a Jewish woman hiding in plain sight.

Working as a nurse with American doctor Webster O’Connor (Brian J. Smith), Henriette has kept her religion to herself. But as she grows closer to Webster and begins to fall in love with him, she decides that it is worth the risk to reveal that she is Jewish. When the Nazis are start to target French POWs, Henriette joins forces with Webster to get as many of them out of the country as possible.

Given her present situation, the easiest thing to do would have been to let fear take over. Henriette knows what could potentially happen to her if she is caught. But she is willing to put that aside. In our faith, there is a saying “those who save one life saves the entire world”.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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World on Fire Character Review: Vernon Hunter

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. It has been said that the heart wants what the heart wants, regardless of what anyone else has to say. On World on Fire, Vernon Hunter (Arthur Darvill) is an RAF fighter pilot who has fallen in love with Lois Bennett (Julia Brown).

But Lois has a complicated life and is not entirely sure if she can return Vernon’s affections. She is still not over her ex, Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King), who is unaware that she has given birth to their daughter. When Vernon proposes, Lois is not quite ready to say yes or no. When Harry returns to England, he told that he is a father and rushes to the Bennett house. But Harry is turned away.

The last time we see Vernon, he has just returned to the base a newly engaged man. Lois was ready to say no to his marriage proposal, but changes her mind when his plane is the last to land. It looks like Vernon will be walking into the sunset with Lois and her daughter.

To sum it up: Many things have been said about love over the centuries. But if nothing else, it can be life changing. Vernon’s life changes when he meets Lois, forever altering the trajectory of his life. At this point, we don’t know what their future will look like, but we know that for the mean time, their love is the binding agent keeping them together.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Dig Movie Review

From the outside looking it, archeology may appear to be akin to an Indiana Jones movie. But anyone with any amount of knowledge of this subject will tell you otherwise.

The Dig premiered yesterday on Netflix. As World War II rumbles in the distance in 1939, Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) is a self trained and unorthodox archeologist. He has been hired by Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) to excavate her land and see if he can find buried historical treasure. What he discovers will be known as Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon burial ship rich in previously unknown artefacts. But with war on the horizon and Basil’s expertise questioned, it looks as if the ship and her objects will remain buried.

I wanted to like this movie. The premise seemed interesting and the cast is stellar. It is a BPD (British Period Drama) with a narrative that is unusual for the genre. The problem is that I was bored, whatever promises that were made in the trailer did not come to fruition.

Do I recommend it? No.

The Dig is available for streaming on Netflix.

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World on Fire Character Review: Grzegorz Tomaszeski

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When facing an invading army, one usually has two choices: give into what seems to be inevitable or fight for your family, your home, and your nation. On World on Fire, Grzegorz Tomaszeski (Mateusz Więcławek) is introduced to the audience as a young man who wants his father’s approval. He will soon earn in a way that will forever change the course of his life.

When the Germans invade Poland, Grzegorz joins his father and other men at Danzig to prevent the Nazis from entering the country. Their attempts, as history tell us, is not a success. After watching his father being killed by German soldiers, Grzegorz quickly learns about the harsh nature of war. Finding a father figure in fellow fighter Konrad, they plan to get out of Poland and Europe in general. But that journey will be far from easy and they can only pray that they survive.

To sum it up: War has a way of forcing us to grow up quickly as few things can. Grzegorz’s time as young man ignorant of the world around him ends in Danzig. Now fully understanding what he must do, he knows that he has no choice. It is one of those truths about being an adult that can only be learned the hard way.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries from the Holocaust

Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day. Looking back on this time in history from a 2021 perspective, what hurts the most is the loss of 1.5 million young people who were killed simply because of their faith. They had their who lives in front of them. But because they were Jewish, they were seen as worthless.

Last night, 18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries from the Holocaust was released on YouTube. The readings are done by a group of actors and media personalities. It is utterly heartbreaking to hear these voices, some who survived and some who didn’t.

May their memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Thoughts on International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Democracy, as Americans have recently learned the hard way, is not guaranteed or promised. It must be cherished, protected, and stood up for when necessary. The same could be said for human rights.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. Some may say that we no longer need this day of remembrance, it so far in the past that we can move on. The hard and sad truth is that we cannot move on. Eighty years after the end of World War II, anti-Semitism (and prejudice is general) is as alive and well now as it was then.

Back in the summer of 2019, I went to the Auschwitz museum in New York City. If there is one message that is clear, it is that both the perpetrators and victims were normal people, as normal as you and I.

I recently finished watching the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian patriarchy in which women are second class citizens and non-conformists are enslaved or killed. Though it could be called dystopian science fiction novel, the truth is that this world is closer to our reality than we think it is. The riot in Washington D.C. three weeks ago was a cold slap in the face and a harsh reminder of that truth.

The only way to prevent another Holocaust of any group of people is education, respecting diversity, and remembering the past.

May the memory of those who were murdered because of who they were (my own relatives included) forever be a blessing.

Z”L.

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World on Fire Character Review: Jan Tomaszeski

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When one’s country goes to war, no one is immune from it’s cold touch. On World on Fire, Jan Tomaszeski (Eryk Biedunkiewicz) is the youngest of three children.

His life is relatively normal, until the Nazis invade Poland. With his father, older brother Grzegorz (Mateusz Wieclawek), and older sister Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz) fighting for their country, Jan is sent to England with his brother-in-law, Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King). Left with Robina (Lesley Manville), Harry’s domineering mother, he is a stranger in a strange land. Clinging to the memories of his family and the hope that they are still alive, Jan is faced with a challenge that only occurs during war time.

Children, we are told, are resilient. They have the ability to bounce back emotionally and psychologically faster than adults. But that does not mean that the scars of the experience completely disappear. Though Jan is still quite young, there is something in him that keeps him going. Which I happen to think is an inspiration to us all, regardless of age.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Cry Me a River: The DC Rioters Ask For a Pardon

For every action, there is a reaction. In some circumstances, the reaction is taken by law enforcement and the legal system when laws are broken.

In the week and a half since the rioters broke into the Capitol building, there have been multiple arrests. Following the footsteps of you know, they have been complaining about mistreatment. The QAnon Shaman (otherwise known as Jake Angeli) has been whimpering that he is not receiving organic food while in prison. One of his fellow “protestors”, Jenna Ryan, claimed the following:

“I thought I was following my president. I thought I was following what we were called to do, flying there. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there. So I was doing what he asked us to do. So as far as in my heart of hearts, do I feel like a criminal? No,”

Cry me a f*cking river.

We all have the right to protest and speak out when we disagree with what our government is saying and doing. But there is a distinct line between protesting and mounting an insurrection because you are dumb enough to believe you know who’s lies.

What bothers me the most is Ms. Ryan’s statement is akin to the defense the Nazis made during the Nuremberg Trials. Otto Ohlendorf pleaded his case via the following:

Don’t you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never even occurred to us. . . . We were all so trained to obey orders without even thinking that the thought of disobeying an order would simply never have occurred to anybody, and somebody else would have done just as well if I hadn’t. . . . I really never gave much thought to whether it was wrong. It just seemed a necessity.

I am going to end this post with the latest video from Ticked Off Vic, because he speaks the truth.

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