Vanity Fair Reporter Consults Expert to Debunk Inglourious Myth of the Nazi-Bludgeoning Jewcenary

Ever since Jim Windolf -- whose 6,000-word Vanity Fair cover story on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is considered the definitive all-access report on the making of that particular shit sandwich -- had seen the trailer for Inglourious Basterds, he'd been troubled by questions of its historical veracity. Obviously, director Quentin Tarantino had taken some liberties in his tale of a marauding band of Jewish-American soldiers who stalked Nazi soldiers, leaving behind a chilling trail of mutilated bodies throughout Europe that sent a wave of Jüdenterror through the ranks of the Third Reich. "But still I thought," he writes, "Why wasn't there a special force of Jewish American soldiers who hunted down Nazis?"

For answers, he went to an expert eyewitness -- Theodore S. Hamerow, a Jewish-American who fought in the war, and whose book, Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust, explores the world's involvement, or lack thereof, in the ongoing Holocaust. Concerned by Tarantino's brash reimagining of modern history's darkest chapter -- what he calls "World War II as imagined by a 10-year-old boy with too much sugar in his system" -- he presses Hamerow on the recklessness of the director's vision. [WARNING: MAJOR, HISTORICALLY INACCURATE SPOILERS ENSUE]

[Windolf:] I think movies like Inglourious Basterds might confuse people about what happened.

I'm afraid that's accurate. And I'm afraid it's not the only movie or portrayal of the war that distorts some aspects of the war.

[SPOILER ALERT] In this one, they kill Hitler.

Oh! [Laughs.] Yes, I read the reviews. It seems like an attempt to attract attention.

It seems to me like a serious thing to be fooling around with.

We are certainly in agreement on that, yes. But you expect that of Hollywood. The heroes versus the villains and so on.

Just to make sure I know what I'm talking about: there were no special Jewish units sent to fight the Nazis.

That's a total myth.

Glad that's cleared up! And just for the record, Nazis were never transformed into a lumbering race of brain-hungry living dead, as depicted in Norwegian Nazi zombie movie Dead Snow, nor were they genetically engineered by Hitler into a super race of busty werewolf soldiers. Adjust your history term papers accordingly.

Comments

  • Guy Whitey Corngood says:

    Of course there weren't any Jewcenaries (my new favorite word.) We had the gypsies, gays, elderly and mentally disabled to do our dirty work back then. Holocaust vindication for all!

  • MA says:

    That's the tip of the iceberg!
    I'm seriously wondering about the existence of Red Apple brand cigarettes. I haven't been able to find them anywhere.
    And I did a search of the LA Times. Guess what?
    There was no jewel store heist by guys dressed in suits and wearing sunglasses in 1991!
    Federal Communications insiders have confirmed to me that no-one by the name K-Billy ever broadcast in commercial radio in the 1970s.
    Hours of trawling on the IMDb have revealed... you guessed it... there was no registered special skills extra known as Stunt Man Mike. Same goes for Fox Force Five - never shot, let alone shown.
    I am starting to think this Quentin Tarantino character is some kinda "narrative fiction filmmaker". Such a shocking revelation has forced me to reconsider the veracity of his printed works. You know, "The Rise And Fall Of Western Civilization" and "The Banality Of Evil".

  • Magma Suit says:

    Special Jewish units DID exist, it was just the Brits that had them. And I don't think they scalped anybody. Pretty cool either way.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Brigade

  • Colander says:

    The Bear Jew is real, though. I saw him in Chelsea once.

  • Seth Abramovitch says:

    Is that where you live?

  • MA says:

    On a slightly more serious note, why does Tarantino get slammed all over the place for making what is clearly tagged as a fairy tale ("Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France...") and yet Edward Zwick can freely invent stuff to get his Jewish resistance movie funded and make it more exciting without nearly as much furore.
    From Wiki:
    Nechama Tec, on whose book the movie is based, stated in an interview with Rzeczpospolita that she was initially shocked by the film, especially by the intense battle scenes, which included combat with a German tank. These battles never occurred in reality: the partisans tried to avoid combat and were focused on survival. She explained this divergence as an adaptation concession producer Edward Zwick made to make the film more thrilling and necessary to obtaining the necessary funding, such being the realities of Hollywood.

  • Colander says:

    Couple trains away.

  • Old No.7 says:

    I'll just go out on a limb, and say that I'll bet that Oliver Stone is unavailable for comment.

  • stolidog says:

    Dead Snow was awesome....A little scat-tastic, but they could have made tons of tennis racquets with all those intestines.

  • william says:

    It's a movie and supposed to entertain, not recite history.
    If you watch The Boy With Striped Pajamas before you go see this, you'll cheer and laugh every time a nazi gets whacked though.
    The fact that we as human beings do the kinds of things to one another-- have been doing for eons-- is deplorable. By any standard in the universe, we probably don't deserve to survive as species.
    If anyone is owed anything, it would be the American Indian and the Jews.
    Compared to what they went through... on such a massive scale... it's frightening to think about.
    Slavey, though not good, is nothing compared to GENOCIDE.
    Just watched The Boy With Striped Pajamas... wow. It's changed how I felt about that whole period in history. It's changed how I felt about something that happened long before my time-- anyone who praises hitler or advocates any form of nazism should be banished to the sun.
    It's almost too much... it's overwhelming to feel sad for 6 million people at once.

  • McCabe says:

    It is obviously fiction, I dont see the problem, only a moron look and try and find history within it.
    You want history you should no were to get it...if you want scalped nazis go to tarantino.

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