Last week, the Rev. Mark Jenkins, NRB President's Council Member and Minister of Media at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, invited several NRB staff to attend a screening of Director Mark Schmidt's Walking with the Enemy, produced by Liberty Studios.
The cast includes Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, Ben Kingsley, Burn Gorman, William Hope, Simon Kunz, Simon Dutton, Charles Hubbell, and Simon Hepworth.
Pastor Jenkins called the film “a powerful story of courage in the face of great adversity that every Christian and Jew should see” and “a triumph in filmmaking that gives the audience a real sense of the human drama that was the Holocaust.”
He also said the movie presents “a timely message for today as we see anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe, Israel pressed on all sides, and many Christians dying for their faith in places like Egypt, Darfur, and now Syria.”
“This is a must-see film for anyone who wants to understand the deception, manipulation, and the evil that seeks to destroy the people of God,” he added.
The setting for the movie is Hungary, which, as an ally of Germany, was not occupied for the majority of World War II. However, in 1944, the Russian Army advanced on Hungary, initiating its occupation by the German Army along with the SS.
Jonas Armstrong (Elek Cohen) stars as a Jewish teen who was separated from his family and forced to work at a labor camp for Jews only. After his escape, Elek returns to his home only to find that the Germans have sent his family to an unknown destination.
On advice from a family friend, Elek returns to the city with his friend and discovers the radio repair shop where they both worked boarded over and painted with a Star of David.
He is reunited with a woman that he met earlier, Hannah Schoen (played by Hannah Tointon), and her uncle, Carl Lutz (William Hope), a diplomat at the Swiss “Glass House,” where lookalike official government documents are printed to save the Jews in Budapest.
After the reunion, his good friend is captured by the police for distributing the printed documents. This prompts Elek to put on an SS Lieutenant’s uniform to save his friend. After witnessing executions and the deportation of his fellow Jews, Elek continues to use the uniform to save as many as he can.
Elek’s story continues while the Hungarian Regent (Ben Kingsley) is struggling to keep the SS from rounding up every Jew in Hungary.
Director Mark Schmidt has done an excellent job in keeping the audience well-informed by tying in the personal struggle of an individual to the national level struggle. The movie leaves the audience with a better understanding of the political and social environment of that time and place in history. This film also conveys the magnitude of what took place in that time in history and should prompt viewers to ask the question, “When do we make a stand?”
Walking with the Enemy is relevant today and for all future generations to show what happened to a modern society in the 20th Century and what can still happen to ours.
Walking with the Enemy (Rated PG-13) opens in major theaters on April 25, 2014.
PHOTO ABOVE: (R to L) Mark Jenkins, Jonas Armstrong, Terrie Jenkins. Photograph courtesy of Mark Jenkins
By Chuck Smith, National Religious Broadcasters
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Published: April 10, 2014