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Surviving Hitler: A Love Story


USA Director: John-Keith Wasson Producer: John-Keith Wasson


Cinematographers: Fortunato Procopio, John Keith Wasson, Charlie Wuppermann


Editor: Carla Gutierrez 2010/color/66 min.


JOHN-KEITH WASSON


A graduate of the London Film School, John-Keith Wasson has worked predominantly as a cinematographer. He shot the documentary The Devil Came on Horseback (2007), which won several film festival awards. Surviving Hitler: A Love Story is his directorial debut.


Director/producer John-Keith Wasson offers a remarkable new perspective on life in Germany during the rise, reign and fall of the Third Reich as he docu- ments the true love story of a Nazi soldier and a young woman who discovers she’s half-Jewish.


After meeting at a dance, a romance between Helmuth and Jutta quickly blooms. Then Jutta discovers the shocking fact of her heritage—in all its horrific implications. She escapes to Switzerland, where she continues to correspond by letter with Helmuth—even as he joins Hitler’s army. Despite the ominous political and social forces against them, Helmuth and Jutta become sweet- hearts, inspiring one another as they keep hope alive. Meanwhile, Jutta’s family joins the resistance; pursued by the Gestapo, her mother is sent to a concentra- tion camp, her father is imprisoned for harboring a fugitive and Jutta herself is arrested after she goes to the police to inquire about her parents’ whereabouts. Helmuth, for his part, joins the Valkyrie plot to assassinate the Führer. When it fails, he miraculously avoids the death sentence handed out to others involved in the coup attempt; even more incredibly, he eventually marries Jutta, who is reunited with her parents—and who lives to tell the tale of her involvement in the resistance movement.


Magnificently narrated by Jutta—who even as an elderly woman is lucid and engaging—Surviving Hitler: A Love Story combines never-before-seen archival footage of Helmuth’s letters, photos and original 8mm films. As our real-life heroine asks, “It is extraordinary, isn’t it?”


—REBECCA CARO


136


DOCUMENTARY


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