“La Rafle” (The Round Up) advertises ‘Based On Actual Events’ and opens with “Everything in this film is true and happened”. It is a drama following the events of the Nazi decreed raid on Jews in France with the help of the police and government of that country. In July 1942 about 13,000 of adults and their children were taken to a velodrome in western Paris to eventually be taken to concentration camps with the children being separated from their parents.

Joseph Weismann was one of those children, and one of the very few who escaped, appears in the picture as the 80+ year old man he is today. The director questioned him and did extensive research on what happened, including the cover up by the French and the denial for so many years.

The acting is first rate all around and some of the scenes are as harrowing as can be in the context of the story but this presents a problem. The subject matter is not new and has been covered in such first rate films as “The Pianist” and “Schindler’s List.”  Once again we see children taken from their mother’s arms along with trains leaving for death camps. There is the scene of toilets overflowing with feces and children going through it to get some money and jewelry that adults threw in it to make it harder for the Nazis to get both. There are the French who are glad to see the Jews being rounded up and those who help many to escape.

Yes, nothing is really new in this film after the director and writer, Roselyne Bosche, exposes the lie that France has tried to cover for over 70 years but how can you not react to the cruelty of people to other people no matter how many times you see it done? As you watch an escape you will hold your breath until it is over.  You do not want to see many things that happen but you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen.

“La Rafle” was a huge hit in France but I don’t think that will happen here for silly reasons such as it has sub-titles, too many people ‘think’ they know about the Holocaust while  others just can’t/won’t handle films like this but they must so that what happened is not forgotten as the Weismanns of today grow smaller in number.

I don’t know how true one of the children’s story at the end is but I hope it was just as Mr. Weismann lived to tell his story to Roselyne Bosche.

Posted February 27, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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