Sons of the Fatherland

Ch. 12 Muslims Instead of Musslmans: Sons of the Fatherland (1968)

Admittedly, this film (made in 1968 in Uzbekistan) offers the most unusual portrayal of a Nazi concentration camp. The action is set in a fictional camp somewhere in Germany, where Jewish and Muslim inmates are kept side by side. The film is loosely based on the real-life history of the Muslim Legions—SS units recruited from among Soviet Muslims at POW camps—but on screen these events are portrayed in entirely unrealistic ways.  For instance, these POWs are not actual collaborators, but Soviet agents planted in the camp to lead the resistance. Even more fantastical is a scene of the execution of a Jewish inmate, featured here in the first clip (of course, it turns out later that a heroic Uzbek took his place in order to save him). But even in this frankly bizarre movie there is a nod to the historical reality of the Holocaust, as in the scene depicting the arrival of Jews in the camp. This is the scene captured in the second clip.

  1. Which religious references appear in the first clip? What is their significance?
  2. Which historical events of the Holocaust are depicted in the second clip? How are Jewish people portrayed in this clip?
  3. What do you hear on the soundtrack in both clips? What is the relationship between the soundtrack (including music, dialogue, and voiceover) and visual images in these clips?
  4. The original title of the film was, I am a Jew. What did this title represent, and why was it changed?