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Europa Europa

September 19, 2015

EEThe film met with a lukewarm reception in its native Germany, with the local media being less than complementary about it. The German Oscar selection committee did not even include it as a submission for that year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Much embarrassment ensued when it went on to become one of the most successful German films ever released in the US, winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

This story is based on fact. The real Solomon Perel has quite a story to tell. His good looks and charm are part of what get him to convince the Gestapo that he is not a Jew, but an ethnic German. But Solly has much more getting him through this ordeal. His determination and strength of spirit, plus blinding will to live, and perhaps the youthful exuberance of being able to accomplish it, help him to pull off the charade. The young boy speaks several languages, and is able to use this skill to convince Nazi soldiers that he is not Jewish. The soldiers adopt him as a sort of “mascot.” Solly is careful not to show his circumcised penis to anyone, including the German girl he falls in love with. Fate is also on his side, since several times when it seemed he might be found out, the hand of a higher power intervenes.
At the school, Josef’s face is measured for racial purity and is found to be of “Aryan stock”, although he is in fact Jewish. On one occasion, a doctor visits the school to perform a health examination, and when Solek learns that he would have to undergo the exam naked, he pretends to have a violent toothache to avoid revealing his circumcision and Jewish identity. Solek falls in love with a German girl called Leni, a fervent Nazi who lost her father in the war. But he must accept that their love has no future because he is circumcised and can’t be intimate with Leni without revealing his secret. The two argue after Solek reacts to a particularly antisemitic remark by Leni, who calls him a Schlappschwanz (limp-dick). After several months without seeing her, Solek visits her mother, who has no love for the Nazis and who tells him Leni is pregnant and intends to “give the child to the Fuhrer “. Solek soon realizes that the father of the child must be his best friend Gerd, a fellow Hitler Youth classmate. When Leni’s mother presses Josef on his identity, he breaks down and confesses that he is a Jew; she promises not to betray him. Leni never finds out.

This movie also made fun of the Nazi’s. The gay soldier who was Jupp’s friend; Leni’s pregnancy as a gift to the Fuhrer and the cranial measuring systems they used and believed as well.

EE 2Isaak Perel – Salomons brother: It is written that a son never leaves his parents in difficult times.

Solomon’s Father: It is also written that the son must obey his parents. And it is also your duty to watch over your brother.

Rosemarie: [while having sex with Solly] Mein Führer!

Leni: Nobody hits a pure bred German woman in the face.

Leni’s Mother: Are you really German?

Salomon ‘Solly’ ‘Salek’ Perel: No. I’m a Jew.

Leni’s Mother: I knew it. From the beginning I knew. I swear I won’t betray you.

Salomon ‘Solly’ ‘Salek’ Perel: I had to tell someone. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Leni’s Mother: You mustn’t tell Leni.

Salomon ‘Solly’ ‘Salek’ Perel: The landowners and the bourgeois keep the people in ignorance. They encourage religious superstitions, and with the help of the popes, priests and rabbis they smother all revolutionary instinct. That’s why we call religion the opium of the masses.

Goethke: The composition of Jewish blood is totally different from ours. The Jew has a high forehead, a hooked nose, a flat back of the head, ears that stick out, and he has an ape-like walk. His eyes are shifty and cunning. He never looks you in the eye. He waves his hands about, makes exaggerated gestures, and he fawns before you, but the minute your back is turned he leaps at your throat! The Nordic man is the gem of this Earth. He’s the most glowing example of the joy of creation. He is not only the most talented but the most beautiful. His hair is as light as ripened wheat. His eyes are blue like the summer sky. His movements are harmonious. His body is perfect.

Salomon ‘Solly’ ‘Salek’ Perel: From that moment on, I decided to be only a Jew. Leaving Europe I emigrated to Palestine, and when I had sons, I barely hesitated to circumcise them.

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