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.