I Wanted To Be A Man With A Gun
Watch the interview with director
William Farley and Film Scholar Bruce Jenkins
Three American Soldiers in World War II
“I Wanted to Be a Man With a Gun '', is constructed from the stories of three veterans, two of whom are Jewish. They represent diametrically opposed mind sets in regard how they encountered war, and responded to the challenges of surviving combat. Harold Kozloff, a soldier in the infantry, hated the Germans and killed them with impunity; Leo Litwak was a medic in the infantry, hated Nazism, but saw the German soldier as a victim of circumstances, and under the orders of the Geneva Convention treated their wounds with the same consideration he practiced while working on American G.I.’s. Paul Mico, Squad Sergeant in the 29th infantry, reluctantly takes enemy lives. Paul anchors the film in the larger historical context given that he was present from the Normandy invasion to the German surrender. His soft-spoken musings soon become shocking reveals when the audience learns that he killed unarmed prisoners. After the massacre at Malmedy, Belgium where the Germans machine-gunned 84 American prisoners, Sergeant Mico and his men began a killing spree - the consequences of which indelibly changed his life.
Their stories provide a unique and disturbing perspective on the war in Europe which has been mostly left out of the historical record, and cut through our romantic fantasies about war. They do not censor themselves in telling their stories, including how they reacted to the Anti-Semitism of their fellow G.I.’s; their rage unleashed against the Germans directly involved in the persecution of their religious brethren; and the horrific consequences of mass murder.