Leo, Harold, and Paul

3 American Soldiers in World War 2


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Leo, Harold, and Paul

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Leo Litwak, Harold Kozloff and Paul Mico were drafted into the U.S. Army and swept into World War Two as infantrymen. Because he had taken a pre-med class in college, Leo was chosen to be trained as a medic.  Once in combat he discovered his vocation was to rescue and provide aid to soldiers wounded in battle. He was profoundly relieved he was spared the obligation to kill.


            While on the ground, amid the sounds of rifle fire, machine guns, bombs and mortars, Harold was transformed into an aggressive warrior. He found himself with a taste for killing, with rage and lust; he was good at it. His Jewish heritage feeds his hatred of the Nazis. After he participates in the liberation of a slave camp, he helps the prisoners take revenge.


            Paul entered combat with the invasion of Normandy, and is unwillingly thrust into the role of platoon leader. He is certain he is going to die; he is even more frightened by the responsibility of keeping his men alive. After the massacre at Malmedy, Belgium, where the Germans machine-gunned 84 American prisoners, Sergeant Paul Mico’s men decide that they will no longer take prisoners. A killing spree begins, and the consequences of that decision indelibly changed his life.


            Leo, thrown into the front lines as his infantry unit advance across Europe, discovered that the Germans had no regard for the Red Cross he wore on his sleeve, or that he was unarmed. He was still the enemy. Despite this, Leo, Jewish and aware of Nazi persecution and the holocaust, continues to come to the aid of the sometimes dying, German or American. He never lost his compassion for all those caught in the storms of battle.


            These three men, bore witness to war and its inhuman face, and participated deeply in different ways. They came to understand that the monsters are not always the enemy. Their stories cut through our romantic fantasies about war. Like all soldiers, Leo, Harold and Paul found themselves in a nightmare reality, where what was occurring around them was almost unimaginable, unpredictable, and deadly. To survive, they made an accommodation with death. What are the consequences becoming killers or refusing to kill? This is an essential question. What did they become when they survived the war? What burdens did they carry for the rest of their time on earth? The film will explore their lives, and will, beyond “shell shock” or Post Traumatic Stress, and a search for meaning.

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