Berlin 36 (3 1/2 Stars)

Currently available on Netflix (Amazon). Berlin 36 is a fictional story based on the real life story of Gretel Bergmann (Karoline Herfurth) and Dora Ratjen (known as Marie Ketteler, played be Sebastian Urzendowsky).

The 1936 Berlin Olympics is approaching and the Americans increasingly unhappy about the treatment of Jewish citizens in Germany and their ban from competing within the Olympic Games have threatened to boycott the games. In order to ensure America come to the Olympics Gretel Bergmann, one of the top female high jumpers is recalled from Britain to complete in the Olympics for Germany. The only problem, Gretel had fled Germany to go to Britain to escape Nazi persecution because of her religion. Now with the threat that her family who remain in Germany, Gretel must return and complete.

Whilst I admire the Americans efforts in suggesting a boycott if Jews are not allowed to complete, I really like seeing the reverse side of that decision. Although it was a noble effort by the Americans, you cannot help but feel for Gretel who must return from security to return to her homeland that has declared she is no longer a German citizen to compete for the glory of a fatherland she is not allowed to belong to. It must have been absolutely terrifying.

Equally heartbreaking if the story of Marie or Dora as she was really known, who for different reasons than Gretel is a prawn in a Nazi game which she’s little benefit for her.


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