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Hitler's Children (1943 film)

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Hitler's Children is a 1943 American black-and-white propaganda film made by RKO Radio Pictures It was directed by the Canadian-American director, Edward Dmytryk, from an adaptation by Emmet Lavery of Gregor Ziemer's book Education For Death4

Hitler's Children stars Tim Holt, Bonita Granville, and Kent Smith One of the most financially successful films of RKO Studios, the film is known for portrayal of brutalities associated with the Hitler Youth, represented particularly by two young participants A line from one of the movement's songs is featured in the film: "For Hitler we will live and for Hitler we will die" translated from Germancitation needed


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Reception
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
    • 61 Notes
    • 62 Bibliography
  • 7 External links


In 1933 Berlin, Professor Nichols Kent Smith runs the American Colony School It is next to the Horst Wessel School, where young Germans are indoctrinated into Nazism During a brawl between the student bodies, Karl Bruner Tim Holt, a German youth born in the United States, objects when Anna Muller Bonita Granville, a US citizen born in Germany, smacks him with her baseball bat The students are attracted to each other despite this beginning Anna's parents had sent her to Germany to be educated, although they allowed her to go to the American school Soon, the professor, Anna, and Karl become good friends, though they do not agree politically After a while though, they lose touch with each other

Six years later, as war looms in Europe, Karl Bruner, now a lieutenant in the Gestapo, removes students of the "wrong" nationalities from the American School Anna is taken out although by then she is working as an assistant teacher As she was born in Germany to German parents, the German government classifies her as German despite her US citizenship

Nichols tries to find Muller, but the US consulate has no power and Anna's German grandparents are too frightened to help Nichols' friend Franz Erhart Lloyd Corrigan suggests that the professor get permission from the Ministry of Education to inspect a certain labor camp, where Muller is likely being held Nichols happens to meet Gestapo Colonel Henkel Otto Kruger and his aide and protégé Bruner Henkel approves Nichols' request to visit Muller but, in private, the young Bruner tries to dissuade Nichols He says that Muller has become "a model German" Nichols cannot believe this and finds he is right when he speaks privately with Muller at the camp She discourages Nichols from trying to rescue her, as it would be too dangerous and stands little chance of success

Bruner recommends Muller for an advanced "Geopolitik" course at a German university but, when interviewed by Henkel and Dr Graf Hans Conried of the education department, Anna turns down the opportunity, fearing they intend her to become a spy against the US She is sent back to the camp and demoted from the staff to a laborer Learning that she has engaged in anti-Nazi behavior, Henkel orders her to be sterilized When Bruner learns of this, he tries to persuade Anna to pretend to be a good Nazi and bear his child to prove her usefulness to Germany, but she refuses

She runs away from the camp and reaches Berlin, where she hides in a Roman Catholic church A search party finds her and takes her away over the protests of the bishop H B Warner Henkel orders her to receive ten lashes and sends Bruner to witness her punishment After she is whipped the second time, Bruner stops the action, although he knows he has doomed himself and Anna

Bruner pretends to have realized his mistake and recants Henkel however arranges for a national radio broadcast of the trial of Bruner and Muller He promises Karl full honors at his funeral Professor Nichols is ordered to leave Germany immediately or he will be arrested as an accessory to treason At the airport, Nichols hears Karl use his opening statement to denounce Hitler's Germany before the young man is shot and killed Anna is shot and killed as she rushes to Karl


  • Tim Holt as Lieutenant Karl Bruner
  • Bonita Granville as Anna Muller
  • Kent Smith as Professor Nichols
  • Otto Kruger as Colonel Henkel
  • HB Warner as The Bishop
  • Lloyd Corrigan as Franz Erhart
  • Erford Gage as Dr Schmidt
  • Hans Conried as Dr Graf
  • Gavin Muir as Nazi Major
  • Nancy Gates as Brenda


Tim Holt was given the lead Then when he seemed he would be unavailable Kent Smtih was assigned instead5 However Holt played the part and Kent Smith moved to a supporting role

Originally Hitler's Children was helmed by Irving Reis, the director got into a spat with the producer, Edward A Golden, and expected RKO to back him up He was surprised by being released and replaced by Edward Dmytryk 67


Hitler's Children was reviewed in The New York Times, where reviewer Bosley Crowther considered the melodrama to be "obvious, conventional" He further noted,"Edward Dmytryk, who directed, has set the whole thing in an oratorical style and has given it the quality of a philippic rather than a credible story from life"4

Despite lukewarm critical reviews, Hitler's Children was a massive hit and earned RKO a profit of $121 million18page needed It was the fourth-highest grossing film of the year and RKO's most successful film of the year The writer and director were each given $5,000 bonuses for their work9 The film is also one of Granville's most recognized performances other than her Nancy Drew films

So successful was this film that RKO used Edward Dmytryk to direct other war films He directed Back to Bataan, starring John Wayne; The Young Lions, and the smash hit of the 1950s, The Caine Mutiny The last war film he made was Anzio 19686

See alsoedit

  • Education for Death, the Disney cartoon based on Ziemer's book
  • Hitler – Dead or Alive
  • The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler
  • The Hitler Gang



  1. ^ a b Jewel, Richard "RKO Film Grosses: 1931–1951" Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14, No 1, 1994, p 41
  2. ^ "Which cenema ilms have earned the most money since 1947" The Argus Australia, March 4, 1944, p 3 Retrieved: August 6, 2012
  3. ^ "Top Grossers of the Season" Variety, January 5, 1944, p 54
  4. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley "Review: 'Hitler's Children', fictionalized version of 'Education for Death,' makes its appearance at the Paramount Theatre" The New York Times, February 25, 1943
  5. ^ Metro Making Film Tests of Canada Lee, Negro Actor, for Role in Two Movies: PICTURES COMING TODAY ' Tish,' With Marjorie Main, to Open at State -- 'Spitfire' Comedy Bill at Palace By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES New York Times 1923-Current file New York, NY 17 Sep 1942: 21
  6. ^ a b Staffprd Jeff "Articles: 'Hitler's Children'" Turner Classic Movies Retrieved: August 10, 2016
  7. ^ HEDDA HOPPER Says: New Picture Brings Fame to Producer Los Angeles Times 1923-Current File Los Angeles, Calif 28 Mar 1943: C2
  8. ^ Jewell 2016
  9. ^ Jewell and Harbin 1982, p 181


  • Jewell, Richard B Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2016 ISBN 978-0-5202-8966-6
  • Jewell, Richard B and Vernon Harbin The RKO Story New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982 ISBN 978-0-5175-4656-7

External linksedit

  • Hitler's Children at the TCM Movie Database
  • Hitler's Children at the American Film Institute Catalog
  • Hitler's Children on Internet Movie Database

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