After Hans Pippig, a concentration camp prisoner, discovers a smuggled Jewish child inside a suitcase, he and his comrades decide to be the boy’s safekeepers. However, as the need for revolution increases so does the possibility of turning in the child for the promise of food, medicine and freedom.
Naked Among Wolves portrays a very fundamental question that is present during times of unbearable circumstances – how much is morality worth when compared to saving my life and the life of my loved ones? This dilemma, of choosing between the “greater good” or settling for the present good, allows the film to focus on the effects our priorities have in the outcomes that rely on our decisions. The purpose of the film then, isn’t to tell a heart-wrenching story but rather to compel us to examine and reflect on our present priorities while at the same time keeping in mind that our morality is often fragile during times of struggle.
*The recommended snack for this film is: Soup and Bread!!
Florian Stetter: From the beginning of the film we are introduced to Hans and his protective tendencies that are completely evident towards his dad and later towards the child. Stetter’s personification of Hans is very commendable due to the fact that he is very adamant on protecting the child from the SS while also preserving the child’s youth by endorsing his smile and laughter.
Peter Schneider: Höfel, unlike Hans and Marian, is not as devoted on protecting the child since he is aware of the punishments that go along with that responsibility. However, after having his morals questioned by Hans, he has no other choice than to join the others on this guardian-like duty. Schneider’s portrayal of Höfel is convincing and relatable seeing as we can clearly experience his inner struggle of keeping the child safe even if it means that others will be persecuted for it.
Rafael Stachowiak: Marian’s character is by far the most intriguing of the three mentioned in this article. Although we get bits and pieces of Hans and Höfel’s lives before going to the concentration camp throughout the film and how their past lives account for their current behaviors – no background is ever given for Marian. Hence, Stachowiak’s determined and brave character is really stellar in that nothing can pinpoint the reason for his behavior except, perhaps, for a naturally courageous heart.