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  • Many people will see this documentary because of Billy Joel, after all, his family is half the subject of "The Joel Files." And that's great, because with or without star quality, this is a film that must be seen by everyone, regardless of religious affiliation. Even if you know something about what the Nazis did to the Jews, you'll still watch this film with your mouth open in disbelief. Before World War II, Karl Joel, the singer's grandfather, created a mail order enterprise. From his hard work and ingenuity he amassed a mansion and a fortune. Then the Nazis began taking control of the government and the Jewish businessman saw his name ruined, his business and home stolen, and his life threatened. Defeated and fearful for his existence, he fled the country for Cuba and then the United States. History worked out a different scenario for another mail order magnate -Neckermann, a Catholic and a Nazi sympathizer. Thanks to his connections, he was able to profit tremendously from the war and the suffering of the Jews in concentration camps. (He thought he was helping them by giving them jobs.) His own later greed lead to his ruin. The documentary tells the story of these two families, but it doesn't just present a piece of history. It also demonstrates how this event has affected the survivors. Interesting stuff. How the Neckermann grandchildren can speak of their relative without disgust is beyond me, especially when the viewer watches Neckermann talk about those events with a fixed smirk on his face. If Neckermann hadn't done what he did, wouldn't someone else have taken advantage of the Joel family? Maybe, but as Joel's brother suggests, if you go along with something doesn't that still make you culpable?

    Somewhere along the way, while rolling in his piles of money, didn't Neckermann stop and think of what he'd done to a man to a people?

    Even those who don't like documentaries will find this to be riveting, thought-provoking subject matter.
  • Although he Josef Neckermann was connected with some of the Nazis he was not encouraging what they were doing. When he received the company it was merely because someone else would have if he hadn't. After the war Josef Neckermann was put on trial at the Nuremberg trials, the Americans put all of the convicted into a similar sort of concentration camp. This was a little hypocritical, he was only let out when he was 90 pounds because they thought that he was going to die, this was immensely skinny for such a man he was more than 6 feet tall. After he was released from the "concentration" he had lost all his money and the company, He then started new and then he built the huge Neckermann company. Also later the Neckermann family paid the Joel family more than $2,000,000 dollars, more than Joel would ever have gotten for the company which he would have had to give up anyway.