Here is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions. Caution this section contains SPOILERS if you have not seen the film.
Q: What happened to Helmuth and Jutta after the war?
Shortly after Jutta, Helmuth and her parents were reunited, the two were married in the first wedding in post-war Berlin. After the war, Jutta and Helmuth left Berlin and moved to Heidelberg. Helmuth enrolled in the university to study chemistry. Jutta and Helmuth started their family with Claudia who was born in 1946 and Manuel in 1948.
Helmuth received his PhD in chemistry in 1952. Shortly after, the young family emigrated to the United States and settled in New Jersey. Helmuth worked at Squibb as a chemist.
Jutta worked first as a secretary and then as the admissions officer at a hospital. In 1957 their third child Marina, was born. In 1959 the family moved to Bakersfield, CA. Helmuth worked as Director of Research and Development at a start-up chemical company. It was in California that Helmuth began giving talks about his experiences in World War II. Jutta started her college coursework with the goal of becoming a teacher and began working as a substitute teacher. Jutta received her B.A. in 1969 and began her full-time career as a teacher, first in elementary school and then in middle school.
In 1965 the family moved back to Princeton, New Jersey and Helmuth went back to work at Squibb as Director of Process Development. In 1972 Helmuth died and a few years later Jutta moved to New Hampshire. Jutta spent the years 1978-1981 training teachers to improve their teaching skills with "Follow Through," the federally funded program that enhanced the gains children made in "Head Start".
Jutta now lives in Connecticut, has six grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. In her retirement years she returned to being an artist. On special occasions Jutta joins John-Keith Wasson for screenings of “Surviving Hitler: A Love Story.”
Q: How did Jutta’s mother survive Ravensbrück concentration camp?
Upon her arrest, Jutta’s mother refused to speak. She simply went mute. The Nazi’s knew that Jutta’s mother was Jewish and that she had hidden a fugitive of Nazi justice, Ludwig Gehre. But what they didn’t know was full story behind the Gehre and his link to the German resistance. So while they continued the investigation, they placed Jutta’s mother in a concentration camp, but in the political prisoner section of the camp.
What happened next remains uncertain. But Charles de Gaul’s niece was released from the same concentration on the same day as Jutta’s mother. So it’s assumed they were both released for the same reason: in April 1945 Count Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross, pressured Hilter over human rights violations. In an effort to appease the international community, the Nazi’s allowed Count Bernadotte to release 47 prisoners from any part of Ravensbuck concentration camp.
Evidently he took pity of Jutta’s mute, emaciated mother. And so she was released onto the streets. At that point in the war, Spring 1945, the German army was in full retreat from the Russians. A pair of SS officers drove by the concentration camp. They offered Jutta’s mother a ride ahead of the marauding Russians, a generous offer in their minds, a final nightmare for her. They grew frustrated with her refusal to talk and got out of the car and physically lifted her into the car. As luck would have it, they dropped her off a few blocks from the apartment of a family friend in Berlin, the same place were she and Jutta reunited days later.
Q. In order to survive Jutta denouce her Judaism?
No. Jutta made a point to tell all her friends, classmates, and employers about her Jewish heritage. She didn't want to endanger them without their knowledge. In the end, only two 'friends' succumbed to the Nazi anti-semticism and stopped associating with Jutta.
Q: There are so many movies about WWII and plots to assassinate Hitler. What inspired you to create a film about this subject matter as well?
I believe Jutta’s story is unique. Yes it’s shelved in a WWII film about the plot to kill Hitler, but it’s also a love story filled with unexpected twists and tremendous good fortune. For me it offered a fresh perspective on an intensely interesting time in history.
Q: How did you learn about this story and their relationship?
For years I had heard that Jutta, a family friend, lived an amazing story. But I had never met her. Finally, curiosity got the better of me, and I stopped by her house. Over the course of a cheese plate, she is German afterall, she shared her experiences in Berlin. Immediately I was hooked.
Q: How did you uncover the 8mm film of Jutta, the young Jewish woman, taken by Helmuth, her German sweetheart?
A few months into interviews, Jutta hinted that there was a box of family films. When I laced up the first reel I had no idea if the footage was usable. Within the first few frames, however, I realized that Helmuth was a gifted cameraman who had captured an intimate glimpse into their dashing wartime romance.
Q: Is there an underlying message that we can learn from this story?
Stand up for what’s right no matter what the odds.
Q: What was one of the most difficult tasks, if any, in finishing this film?
Jutta’s story, the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler, and WWII are filled with countless fascinating moments, yet our job was to consolidate all three elements into a film. Unfortunately, several compelling details proved tangential or too nuanced to explain. So the most difficult task was deciding what to cut.