Film Review: The Champion of Auschwitz – Out in UK Cinemas – Friday 3rd September 2021
I’m not usually someone who rushes to watch a boxing film or a film about the Holocaust. Boxing doesn’t interest me and the Holocaust is just too sad a subject matter for me, but the combination of the two together, along with the fact that it is also a true story piqued my interest and I after watching the trailer I was sure that this film wasn’t a typical Holocaust film.
The last film I reviewed based on the Holocaust was the 2019 film, When Hands Touch, which is an amazing love story amongst the backdrop of the terrible German takeover and World War 2.
This film, directed by Maciej Barczewski who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, tells the story of one of the first inmates of camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, prisoner number #77, Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski who was imprisoned for 3 years and fought over 40 victorious boxing fights and survived as well as giving hope to others.
Have a look at the trailer…
Like I previously stated, this is not my usual type of film, but I did enjoy it. Mainly because it’s a true story and it is a truly inspiring story indeed.
Piotr Glowacki (above), plays the main character absolutely brilliantly, he can portray a range of emotions that really draw you into his world and makes you empathise with him and those around him.
I loved the flashbacks at the beginning where we get a glimpse of what his life looked like before the Nazis took over.
The film reminds us how terrible the living conditions were in these camps, and the brutal treatment the inmates endured.
His relationship with Janek, played by Jan Szydlowski, is so adorable, he really looks out for him as if he was his own son.
The officers are clearly bored and a bit of bullying from the officers, highlights Teddy’s boxing skills, which they use for their own entertainment.
After this incident they force him to fight for food for himself and the other prisoners as well as other essentials such as medicine.
He is also looked out for by a higher ranking prisoner who helps to secure him easier chores and some extra food, so he can fight with some strength.
I keep remembering that this is a true story, and it’s means so much to be able to watch this, it shows the strength of the human spirit and how an individual can bring so much joy and hope to others, we all matter and we can all play our part to make the world a better place, imagine if each took this lesson on board and took action?
How different would the world look?
My only criticism of this film is that it would have been nice to get to know some of the other inmates more, particularly those that ‘Teddy’ was close to, as there is a blossoming romance and a death of a child that is quickly skirted over, but maybe that was due to time constraints.
Here’s a bio of the real hero…
|TADEUSZ “TEDDY” PIETRZYKOWSKI (1917 – 1991) Born in 1917 in Warsaw, brought up in a traditional Polish family, in which patriotism and Catholic values played a great role, adamant in the realization of his sports dreams and life decisions, Tadeusz Pietrzykowski is a model for generations.|
At the age of 11, he joined the scouting movement, which, as he recalled: it was first and foremost my first and most important school of life. (…) I had my first contact with gloves at a gathering. I caught the boxing bug and this skill of boxing, which I encountered in scouting, deepened in the WKS Legia sports club, exerting a decisive influence on my life. Until 1939, representing Legia, fighting under the pseudonym “Teddy”, taken from Teddy Yarosz – his boxing idol, he won the championship of Warsaw several times and the vice-championship of Eastern Poland in the bantamweight.
The outbreak of World War II interrupted a very promising boxing career. Tadeusz Pietrzykowski took part in the defense of Warsaw, then he wanted to fight for a free Poland in Polish military units forming in France. Caught during the illegal crossing of borders, he was deported in the first transport of Polish political prisoners to KL Auschwitz, where on June 14, 1940 he was given the number 77. In March 1941, he was the first boxer to fight a victorious boxing duel with a German kapo.
Enjoy the film, thanks for reading!
Also, thanks to Teddy for being such an inspiration.