The Weekly Watch: “Naked Among Wolves” (8.5/10)


User G. D. Vicente Torres via Flickr

The sign outside Buchenwald which reads in English, “To each his own”, or in other words, “Everyone gets what he deserves.”

Based on the 1958 novel written by Bruno Apitz (Nackt unter Wölfen), the film adaption Naked Among Wolves tells the true story of a small child smuggled via suitcase into the Buchenwald concentration camp. Director Philipp Kadelbach produced the made-for-TV film in 2015, which received rave reviews. The German drama captures the atmosphere of one of the most large-scale tragedies in human history with scenes and images that are hard to forget.


Not many movies contain multiple scenes that become etched into a person’s memory forever; Naked Among Wolves manages to do just that. Many of the images seen in the movie, though crafted of fiction, resemble the actual atrocities that took place in prison camps during World War II. In fact, many of the referenced scenes are difficult to watch, primarily because they appear real and secondly due to the true that lies behind them. These extracts from the movie solidify the setting, Buchenwald. The German dialogue is also a constant reminder of the film’s setting, though with the mentioned scenes it would be difficult to forget.


One of the most captivating essences of the film is the raw emotion induced while watching. The fear and sorrow viewers feel in their chest is most certainly genuine, though they’re aware the characters are “just acting.” For some, the movie is “too real”, which is perhaps the film’s only downfall, if it can be called that.


Though Naked Among Wolves is a fictional story, it illuminates the very real horrors that occurred during the Holocaust. While horrible to imagine, it remains a tragedy forever etched in human history. In the words of esteemed author Cormac McCarthy, “You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”