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The Invisible Jews Of Berlin

7,000 Jews hid in Berlin during World War 2. Only 1,500 survived. “The Invisibles” tells the story of 4 survivors. The dramatization is intermixed with footage of the actual 4 survivors recounting their story.
Thanks to some Berliners and the cunning of survivors 1,500 avoided the extermination camps. This film tells their story and the story is given bite by the survivors recounting their experiences.
A couple of themes emerge from the film. One survivor reminisces about a German telling him if he could save a single Jew Germany could be redeemed. The survivor agrees. In other words not all Germans were monsters some taking huge personal risks in hiding Jews. Some were communists and one even an accountant in the Reich accountancy office. Others were simply disgusted with the ethnic cleansing of Hitler.
Another theme that hit me was a statement made by one of the survivors about the absurdity, insanity and unbelievable slaughter of Jews. What rational person could think this was possible?
Perhaps the most telling point of the film is a group of Russian soldiers storming Berlin ready to execute a group of young Jewish men who they think are Germans. The men insist they are “Juden”. The Russian officer challenges them to recite the Hebrew prayer “Shima Yisreal” which they do, and the Russian officer and the Jewish men hug in a tearful embrace. The Russian officer is a Jew who has assumed Hitler exterminated all Jews. The matter of fact recounting by the survivors is given some powerful dramatic boost by this tearful scene.
“The Invisibles” is an historically important film but so matter of fact it rather loses an emotional impact. Chilling survivalist film.
For a trailer see here
(“The Invisibles”, Germany, 2017, Director Claus Räfle, 110 Minutes, German with English Subtitles, Part of the 2018 Toronto Jewish Film Festival).

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