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British enemy

Film | Accession Number: 1996.169.1 | RG Number: RG-60.2504 | Film ID: 991

Reel 2
Michael O'Brien, an Irish rebel leader from Dublin, is hanged in 1903 by the British for subversion and high treason. His eighteen-year-old son, also named Michael O'Brien, is sent to St. Edwards College -- a boarding school specifically aimed at making Irish children 'think English' by tight surveillance and ideological education. There, a fellow student collects information for his uncle at the British Secret Service. As a result, Patrick O'Connor unconsciously betrays Michael's widowed mother for harboring Irish freedom fighters even though he eventually joins the rebels' cause. On the last day of school Michael and other students burn the British flag and take up arms to support the 1921 Irish war of independence. Finally Patrick is shot and dies in the arms of Michael with the words: "Ich bin kein Verraeter!" [I'm not a traitor!].

This feature film was part of a broader anti-British propaganda offensive in 1941 including "Ohm Krueger" ["Uncle Krueger"] and "Carl Peters" that depicted the war enemy Great Britain as a ruthless imperialist power enslaving defenseless peoples. In suppressing the freedom of the Irish by violence, famine, and police brutality, the British are characterized as gutless and inhumane 'Tommies' who constantly talk about the 'civilizing mission' of their Empire while practicing aristocratic nepotism and playing golf. Furthermore, the movie was meant to encourage the spirit of unconditional sacrifice for the broader national struggle and especially targeted the youth. The Staatsauftragsfilm [movie commissioned by the state] passed censorship on February 12, 1941 and premiered on February 17, 1941 decorated with the distinctions "staatspolitisch wertvoll" [state-politically valuable], kuenstlerisch wertvoll [artistically valuable] and "jugendwert" [of worth for the youth].

Production:  1941
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv
Record last modified: 2023-11-07 12:08:25
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