Unlikely Heroes

Robert Trank's workmanlike documentary, produced by an arm of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, cowritten by Rabbi Marvin Hier and narrated by Ben Kingsley, explores the stories of seven ordinary individuals who roused themselves to acts of extraordinary courage during WWII. They include Polish teenager Anna Heilman, who plotted successfully to blow up one of...read more

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Robert Trank's workmanlike documentary, produced by an arm of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, cowritten by Rabbi Marvin Hier and narrated by Ben Kingsley, explores the stories of seven ordinary individuals who roused themselves to acts of extraordinary courage during WWII. They include Polish teenager Anna Heilman, who plotted successfully to blow up one of Birenau's crematoria and was the only conspirator to survive (her sister was hanged for her participation); Austrian Willy Perl, who persuaded authorities to let him him deport Jews, instead allowing thousands to escape; Bauhaus artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who taught children in Czechoslovakia's "model" Theresienstadt concentration camp to express their emotions through art and French singer Robert Max Weiderman, who defied Buchenwald regulations to secretly entertain his fellow inmates. (In a stranger-then-fiction twist, Weiderman, who changed his name after the war to Robert Clary, went on to play Corporal LeBeau on the 1960s sitcom Hogan's Heroes, which took place in a German P.O.W. camp.)

Trank and Hier do their best to bring these stories to life despite a dearth of visual materials, and the film is a vivid reminder that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was not a unique instance of Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime. (In English and Hebrew)

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Robert Trank's workmanlike documentary, produced by an arm of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, cowritten by Rabbi Marvin Hier and narrated by Ben Kingsley, explores the stories of seven ordinary individuals who roused themselves to acts of extraordinary courag… (more)

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