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Dear Uncle Adolf - Movie Review - 2011

The Germans and Their Fuhrer

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Dear Uncle Adolf - Movie Review - 2011

Dear Uncle Adolf poster art

First Run Features
During his reign of power, Adolf Hitler received countless personal letters from Germans in their homeland and around the globe. Recently, a cache of some 100,000 fan letters to Hitler was discovered in a secret archive in Russia. Filmmakers Michael Kloft and Mathias von der Heide use a representative selection of these to illustrate how the Germans felt about their leader, and how great a hold their Fuhrer had over them.

Extreme Fan Mail

The letters are read in English by actors -- men, women and children -- as voice over narration, while the actual handwritten or typed German documents are shown on screen, along with still photos of the authors of the letters and/or of archival footage that is directly related to the letter's theme or content.

To give the film structure and a through line, Kloft and Mathias von der Heide present the selected letters in a timeline that reflects the political scene in Germany, and Germany's aggressions against neighboring countries. First, there is an introduction that explains the provenance of the letters. After it, the body of the film is divided into distinct chapters that cover 'Letters From Everyone,' 'The Annexation of Austria,' 'Report on Public Opinion,' 'Defending the Fatherland,' 'On The Conduct of the War,' and 'Hopelessness and Defeat.'

Most of the letters fan mail -- in the extreme. The are written as poems, oaths and manifestos, and many are illustrated with charming drawings and paintings of the German countryside or iconic German symbols.

Most of the letter writers -- both genders, all ages -- express their eternal loyalty to Hitler. A number of women write passionate declarations of their undying love for their Fuhrer. There are those who send birthday greetings, some accompanied by gifts such as hand knit socks or other personal items, or with photographs of their senders. Some writers request a souvenir or small memento such as an autograph or signed photo addressed to themselves or a beloved family member.

Inside The German Mind Set

There are several letters that are somewhat critical and offer advice. A few actually state protests. More, however, make pleas for special consideration of a case of 'mistaken identity' and detention. Some of the letters are from Jews who declare their loyalty to Germany and ask to be treated as equals. Still others say that they await with eager anticipation the day when their Fuhrer will send German troops to the region in which they live, annex it and 'set them free.'

One particularly disturbing letter was written by a 13 year old girl who was living in the Netherlands, and expressed her hope that Hitler would send troops quickly to free her from the Jews "who slaughter Christians at Easter."

The letters present a fascinating range of comments and requests in an overall adulatory tone that is deeply disturbing.

Throughout the film, there are clips of Hitler appearing before vast crowds of people who are cheering hysterically. Then there are shots of Hitler giving a moment of special attention to a woman or child or being mobbed by fans who wish to touch or kiss him.

Because it gives such unique insight into the mind set, perceptions, aspirations and ambitions of the German people during Hitler's years in power, Dear Uncle Adolf is a distinctive, chilling and very important addition to the list of documentaries about the Holocaust, the second world war and the Third Reich.

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Film Details:

  • Title: Dear Uncle Adolf: The Germans and Their Fuhrer
  • Directors: Michael Kloft and Mathias von der Heide
  • Release Date: August 23, 2011 on DVD
  • Running Time: 60 mins.
  • Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
  • Location: Germany, with archival footage from 1932 to 1945
  • Language: English
  • Distribution Company: First Run Features
  • Official Website

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