S.D. Jewish Film Festival: ‘The Kissinger Saga’ a double American success story

“The Kissenger Saga,” a film by Evi Kurz

Reviewed by Joel and Arlene Moskowitz

LA JOLLA, California–The story of the Kissenger boys, who escaped Hitler’s campaign to anihilate the Jews, is a star example of the American dream .  It is told in a picture directed by Evi Kurz who wrote a book about them.  Henry (actually Heinz) Kissenger was aversive to her pleas for an interview but she was persistent.  The scenes where Henry Kissenger is on-screen  show a stern  older gentleman with a German accent. There is a rumor that Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove was modeled after Henry Kissenger.

 The author/director got help from Henry’s younger brother Walter.  Walter was more amenable to supplying documents, photos, and information about the “Saga”.  They came from Furth, a town in Southern Germany where their father was a teacher and had only just  been appointed to a head master’s position.  Louis was persuaded by his wife Paula to flee when Hitler’s evil intentions became known.  They emigrated to the U.S. in 1938 but other family members remained. They believed that their allegiance to Germany in World War I and their history of being ‘good’ citizens would protect them.  Their disappointment accompanied them to the concentration camps. 

From their home in Washington Heights in upper New York City, the boys progressed by way of a stint in the Armed Forces (1944)  which involved  returning to Germany as part of Army intelligence, and on to  studies at Harvard (Henry’s thesis interestingly was about Napolean) and success unimaginable.  Walter, a wunderkind, went onto lead global companies and Henry became Secretary of State under Nixon and won a Nobel Prize among many other honors. His town of birth wanted to honor him as well.  The movie viewer will journey with the Kissenger brothers to Furth.  The movie provides glimpses of the rest of their lives. 

This film may wet one’s thirst for more information about this American miracle.  Perhaps, as did this reviewer,  the viewer may marvel at Henry Kissenger’s ability to ‘forgive and forget’ the horrors which befell the Jewish community of Furth including his close relatives.   To be sure “To forgive is divine…” 

Evi Kurz  tenaciousness may be further detailed in her book.  She is to be congratulated for getting Henry Kissenger to sit still even for these scenes.  

Time and Date of Showing–10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 10
Place of Showing, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center
Languages:  Geerman and English
Reviewer’s rating  * * * of 5 possible

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