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October 03, 1980 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-10-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Friday, October 3, 1980 21

Playing for Time' Omissions Give False Impression

(Continued from Page 1)
• Poles, Catholics, politi-
cal and other "untermen-
shen" were also victims of
the Nazis, but the Jews
were singled - out for "spe-
cial" treatment.
• The Pope and other
Christian leaders knew of
the situation in Nazi con-
centration camps but re-
mained silent.
• The Auschwitz cre-
matorium burned some
12,000 corpses a day.
• Some German Jews
were more German than
Jewish, but not according to
the Nazis.
But "a little knowledge
can be a dangerous thing,"
the old saying goes.
Through errors of omission
and commission, "Playing
for Time" can give viewers a
false impression of life in a
Nazi death camp.
For example, Dr. Josef
Mengele, the infamous Au-
schwitz doctor now repor-
tedly hiding in Paraguay, is
depicted as a cultured Ger-
man gentleman who loves
music. No mention is made
of his heinous human medi-
cal experiments; his role in
selections of inmates for
gassing is grossly
Likewise, SS camp
commander Maria Man-
del, chief of the Birkenau
women's camp, is por-
trayed as a sometimes
humane music lover who

cries over the disappear-
ance of a little Polish boy
she had "adopted." In
Fenelon's book, on which
the film is based, Mandel
is specifically described
as personally taking
"her" little boy to the gas
chamber. There is noth-
ing mysterious or implied
about his disappearance.
Perhaps most misleading
is a scene that exaggerates a
description in Fenelon's
book. The body of orchestra
conductor Rose is laid in
state in a coffin, surrounded
by flowers. Rose, a German
Jew, and niece of Gustav
Mahler, was not treated in
death nor in life as were
hundreds of thousands of
victims of Auschwitz.
While Fenelon's book de-
scribes this extraordinary
but actual 'occurrence, the
film fabricates details that
are unbelievable to the
point of absurdity. In the
film the coffin of Rose is
draped with a Nazi flag by
members of the SS and
Mengele, himself, comes to
pay his last respects. At one
point, he even kisses Rose's
Some four million Jews
and non-Jews perished in
Birkenau-Auschwitz, by
gassing, burning, beating,
torture, dog bites, shooting,
hanging. This was the
"normal" way of death
there. The film shows the
viewer the exception, but

not the rule. At this point no
film footage of actual gas
chambers or crematoriums
is interspersed.
Even the one hanging
that is portrayed is
romanticized. The victim,
underground leader

* * *

CBS Picketed

Demonstrators picketed
CBS-TV headquarters in
New York on Sunday and
again on Tuesday to protest
the casting of PLO-
supporter Vanessa Red-
grave as Fania Fenelon in
"Playing for Time."
WJBK-TV in Southfield
was also picketed Tuesday
evening before the movie ,
was broadcast., ,

Mala, is shown being
hanged next to her lover,
with whom she had at-
tempted to escape. They
gaze into each other's
eyes as they die. Mala
was in fact hanged.
Alone. But not before she
was tortured, beaten and
trampled until she was
"just one mangled mass
of blood, a disjointed
puppet," according to
Fenelon's book.

tion camp by train in No-
vember 1944 and liberated
by the British on April 15,




The end of the film be-
comes garbled, as though
the producers were "playing
for time." After 10 months
at Birkenau, Fenelon and
other orchestra members
were in fact • moved to the
Bergen-Belsen concentra-



an adult education program...


CJF Preparations Continue

a select group of classes
following high scholarly standards
taught by specialists in these areas:

Shown preparing for the Council of Jewish Fed-
erations General Assembly, which will be held at the
Detroit Plaza Hotel Nov. 12-16, are from left, top
photograph, CJF representatives Nora Donegan and
Norman Ober, Tillie Brandwine, Detroit Committee
chairman Dulcie Rosenfeld (standing), Barbara Mar-
cuse and Shelby Tauber. In the bottom photograph is
the Adjacent Communities Committee, including
from left, Elaine Fishier, Flint; Esther Greenfield, To-
ledo; Lottie Berenholtz, Windsor; Carol Amster, Ann
Arbor; committee chairman Ruth Broder of Detroit;
Ruth Vinacow, Flint; Harriet Whiteman, Windsor;
and Emily Bank, Flint.

Aviva Mutchnick to Speak
for Hadassah, Midrasha

Aviva Mutchnick, special
consultant to the American
Jewish Committee, will de-
liver the first lecture in the
Mini-Mester series 11 a.m.
Thursday at the Midrasha,
21550 W. 12 Mile, South-
field. She will speak on
"Jews in Arab Lands."
Ms. Mutchnick was born
in Bahgdad, Iraq. In 1951,
her family moved to Israel
where she lived in
Ma'abarat for 10 years.
After serving in the Israeli
army, she studied at the
University of Michigan.
Her majors included politi-

cal science and sociology
and research on Palesti-
nians and the West Bank.
Ms. Mutchnick has
served as executive di-
rector of the Labor
Zionist Alliance and
executive director and
co-chairman of the World
Organization for Jews
from Arab Countries.
The Mini-Mester series
will be held from Thursday
through Nov. 6 at the Mid-
rasha. There is a registra-
tion fee. For information,
please call the Midrasha,
354-1050 or 352-7117; or
Hadassah;, 357-2920.



Day and Evening classes available.

For information and registration call:


1 pm to 5 pm


21550 West Twelve Mile Road • Southfield, Michigan 48076

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