Boys’ mature response to film about assassination attempt on Hitler wins plaudits

Boys’ mature response to film about assassination attempt on Hitler wins plaudits

QE boys were the first-ever under-18s to watch producer Ilana Metzger’s film about her father, a Holocaust survivor who once attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

And she was so impressed by the their mature response that she is now donating 30 copies of his autobiography – gifted to her by an anonymous viewer of the film – to the School.

The visit had been suggested to the Headmaster, Neil Enright, by Old Elizabethan Alan Solomon (OE 1951–1957), pictured here.

He had been impressed by the way the documentary told the story of Ilana’s father, Henry Wermuth, and also looked more widely at the Holocaust and its origins.

Following the screening of the film, Breathe Deeply My Son, to last year’s Year 9 during the Summer Term, the boys took part in a question-and-answer session.

In a message sent to the Headmaster subsequently, Ilana praised the QE pupils for their “interesting and insightful questions” and high level of maturity.

In the film, Mr Wermuth, pictured here with Ilana, explains how in 1942 he broke out of Klaj ammunition camp in Poland when he learned that Hitler was scheduled to pass through the village.

He piled sticks and rocks on the railway track, but the attempted derailment was unsuccessful.

He told The Jewish Chronicle in 2013: “A train passed with three wagons, and in the window was a man who I recognised by the moustache as Hitler. I stood there mesmerised, waiting for the crash, but it never came. Either a local farmer or someone patrolling must have removed the logs.”

Mr Wermuth survived the war weighing just 5st 3lb (33kg). His father, mother and sister all died in concentration camps.

He was awarded a medal for his attempt by the German city of Frankfurt in 1995.

After liberation, he settled in the UK and built a property business in London. He died in 2020, aged 97.