Jutta lived through the holocaust. She survived one of the worst periods in the history of the world, yet, she insists, her story is “not a holocaust story.” That doesn’t make it any less scary for the woman born to a German father and a Jewish Mother. For during the time of Hitler’s attacks, Jutta had fallen in love.
The documentary tells the tale of Jutta, her mother, her father, and the young man she was seeing. His name was Helmuth Cords, and he was a German soldier. Though German blood ran through both of their bodies, each hated the path that Hitler had taken and, like many other Germans, they aspired to kill him. Helmuth, Jutta, and her parents played a part in the fight against the Nazis, risking their own lives as they did what they could to reverse the effects of a genocidal war. As Helmuth was away fighting Russians, Jutta and her family hid an erratic fugitive. Each day was just as exciting and unpredictable as it was dangerous, especially since everyone in their neighborhood was a Nazi.It’s a D-Day story that hasn’t been told, and that will cause viewers to think about World War II in a whole new light.
Dropping “A Love Story” from the title might have been more appropriate, or perhaps the film should have been called Surviving Hitler & A Love Story. Though a love story does run underneath the film and is the glue that holds it together, the movie is really a story about being brave. Neither Jutta nor Helmuth nor Jutta’s parents knew what each day would bring, but they strove to survive every day. The film features some actual footage from Helmuth and Jutta’s younger days, as well as some re-enactments. The photographs and footage from the war are powerful and add a poignant touch to the film as a whole. Though the situation was deathly serious, Jutta’s schoolgirl antics and mischievousness are refreshing. Her sassy personality adds an edge to an otherwise depressing film. “I was very naughty. And powerful. And stupid,” she says at one point.
Overall, Surviving Hitler: A Love Story is a powerful tale and it does a great job of highlighting the bravery of Jutta, her parents, and Helmuth during such a dark and scary time. The contrast of the graphic images of footage with the blossoming romance between Helmuth and Jutta, as well as the unconditional love of their family, makes this film very solid, entertaining, and unlike any other.