Leon Feuchtwanger's all-too-prescient 1930s novel The Oppermann Family was retitled The Oppenheim Family for this Russian screen treatment. The names have been changed, but the story remains the same, as the Jewish Oppenheim clan are subjected to endless persecutions in Hitler's Germany. The film's depiction of concentration-camp brutality was considered pretty grim stuff in 1939, but it paled in comparison to the actual atrocities, which would not become common knowledge to the rest of the world for several years. Certain American critics of the period complained that the Nazis were depicted as two-dimensional villains, without a shred of humanity; complaints of this nature would evaporate once the U.S. itself was drawn into WWII. A better and more thorough version of The Oppermann Family was made for German television in 1983.
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