The History Channel presents a powerful, poignant, and thought-provoking documentary that explores the strength and tenacity of a group of brothers determined to save as many Russian Jews as possible from the invading Nazis in 1941.
Through actual footage and interviews with survivors, The Bielski Brothers: Jerusalem in the Woods paints a vivid and heart-wrenching story about what the Jews went through as the Nazis continued their conquest of European countries at the start of the 1940s.
The Bielski Brothers were a group of three brothers who created a base in the woods where all Jews who made it there were welcome. It was a safe haven for all Jews who sought safety from the Nazis. People who were actually saved by the Bielski Base share their stories throughout the documentary. There are even interviews with the Bielski family members who were a part of the events of the time.
While it does have a positive outcome for those who were part of the Bielski base (they saved over 1,200 Jews), this is not a documentary you should watch when you’re in a good mood. It’s sad. It’s moving. It’s important. But I would recommend watching this and then watching a comedy afterwards.
For those who are history fans, you may want to watch The Bielski Brothers: Jerusalem in the Woods, and then watch the Daniel Craig film Defiance. Defiance is based on the Bielski brothers story. When it comes to adapting a true story into a film it’s always interesting to see what remains true to the actual story and what becomes fictionalized.
I recommend this History Channel documentary because it is a pertinent and important piece of world history. While most of us know about World War II, Pearl Harbor, and the Holocaust, we also have to recognize that there are thousands of other stories that are offshoots of these events. Some are good, some are bad, but all a part of the great tapestry that makes up our world history.
**NOTE: The narrator of this documentary is named Ziska. I thought it was Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation, American History X), but I was incorrect. But it does sound like her.