Monday, 6 July 2009

Europa Europa Solomen Perel, Alex Kurzem

Friday was a day of hope rather than expectation, of good work and some expenditure. By early evening the experience of the day. The event of the day by 7.30pm, thus leaving open something else to happen after this time, is a film on DVD Europa Europa, which is one the most interesting and unusual stories to emerge fro World War 2. Solomon Perel was born in 1929 a German Jew and when the Nazi's came to power the family experienced the growing hostility they moved to Poland in 1935.. When Germany invaded Poland Solomon and his brother attempted to escape to the Soviet occupied part of Poland. It is at this point that the story takes its first twist because Solomon separated from his brother became a Communist pupil at an orphanage run by the Komosol and learnt to speak Russian.

The second development occurred when Germany declared war on Russia and took over the orphanage separating those who were Jewish from the rest. Solomon realising the danger successfully passed himself off as a German living outside the mother country and because he was able to speak Russian was taken up by the unit as a mascot and interpreter, playing a part in the capture of the son of Joseph Stalin. Because he was still a minor he was sent to a Hitler Youth school when he had established a relationship with a fervent anti Jewish girl, subsequently disclosing that he was a Jew to her mother who did not reveal his secret. Captured by USA forces he was reunited with brother and after discovering that the rest of his family had died he resettled in Israel in 1948, joining the army and fighting in the Arab Israeli War. He left the army to become a business man returning to Germany on a visit in 1985 and then writing about his experiences which was turned into a German made film in 1990, which went on to win the Golden Globe Best Foreign Language film and was also nominated for an Oscar in the same year.

Alex Kurzem's story has similar aspects in that born a Jew in Belarus in 1936 he was orphaned during the World War and lived in the forests, begging for food he was saved from death by a Latvian Soldier who provided him with false papers to hide his Jewish background. Throughout his childhood he appeared in Nazi propaganda films as an Aryan mascot and one of his roles was to hand out chocolates to Jewish Children while they waited for trains to take them to the concentration camps. He immigrated to Australia in 1949, married with three children working as a TV repair man. In 2007 one of his sons published a book entitled the Mascot, an account of his life as a child among the Nazi SS who never knew that he was Jewish.

We all play roles but remain as ourselves. Actors play roles and try to become others. Few have to play a role for survival and fewer have to become their enemy and survive after their enemy is defeated.

I made good progress on the kitchen floor although I developed problems with the saw because of the limited life of the battery. I Was able to work out that I needed one further pack of six and later on the day bought this and the wood to make the surround with glue fixing. I needed to change the lamp in the day room, having considered buy another without a shade but decided to go for the repair to the ceiling which will need to be undertaken before the house is sold. I did good work on the bathroom and the four shelving units in the passage outside, discovering that I can still use several pairs of the older types of thick glasses if the need arises, and also discovering several other items of interest, Using the hand saw for a time this morning and plenty of elbow grease on the bathroom this afternoon was a good activity as I fail to reduce my weight. I also visited Lidl who had advertised a bath room mat set in blue, possibly it will of on sale next week as neither store had any. I bought some smoked salmon included frozen 700 slab with an Italian topping for only 3.99 which I will attempt cut in two with the special saw. I also bought another pack of the bream and a frozen Lobster which just has to be boiled for four minutes. From Asda some grapes and bananas, some prawns and some rolls.

Watched the second programme of the week American Idol which follows the usual pattern not showing the majority of those selected for Hollywood and the eviction night programme in the Big Brother house reducing the residents from 12 to 6.


  1. i just learned of alex kurzem's story this week...there are rumors that spielberg was interested in the movie rights, but don't know what has come of that...kurzem's story would make a GREAT hollywood film!

    i posted kurzem's 60 minutes interview to my blog never again! if you haven't seen it, it's very touching