about face logo
home
The Story
the soldiers
timeline
about us
release info
resources
About Face : The Story
image: swearing in Jewish immigrants are sworn in to the U.S. Army.
(courtesy Walter Reed)

The film is a feature-length documentary that tells the remarkable, yet previously untold story of thousands of young Jewish immigrants who fled Germany and Austria in the early days of Hitler's regime, only to perform an "about face" returning to confront their oppressors as American GI's and British Tommie's in WWII.

"About Face" does not focus on the camps, the ghetto uprisings or the victimization of the Jewish people. Instead, it depicts the uniquely powerful and unexpected experiences of the Jewish refugees-turned soldiers, who fought with distinction in the US and Allied Armed Forces as combat infantrymen, paratroopers, and interrogators in counter intelligence and military intelligence positions.

Jewish soldiers take German P.O.W.s
(courtesy Harry Lorch)
The film features interviews with these veterans, who as native German speakers and former German and Austrian nationals, had knowledge of the language and the culture, which proved invaluable in combat, counter-intelligence and the interrogation of prisoners. Each story represents a broad spectrum of experiences and emotions, traversing between fear and revenge, acceptance and betrayal, gratitude and forgiveness, not to mention the moral ambiguity felt by many of these veterans reflecting on returning to fight the countries their families had once called home.

Their stories are ones of heartbreak, courage and ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit. In addition to the film, we have also created an archive to record and preserve the stories of the more than 200 veterans we have interviewed to date. Among those interviewed for the film are humanitarian and author Kurt Klein and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as well as commentary by renowned author of "Piercing the Reich," Joseph Persico and historian, film producer and the former president of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Dr. Michael Berenbaum reflecting on the efforts of these refugees-turned-soldiers and their unique experiences.