DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a Polish filmmaker is producing a film exposing the truth about Martin Luther, including his pernicious influence on dictators like Adolf Hitler and Erich Honecker. Catholic Grzegorz Braun is leading the creation of Luther and the Protestant Revolution, set to premiere on November 12 in Poland.
"It will be aimed at identifying today's protracted Protestant revolutions," reads the description on the film's website, "echoes of events half a thousand years old, the devastating effects of the 'shockwave' of Protestantism in the horrors and absurdities of the 20th/21st centuries."
We asked the filmmakers about the premiere, which will take place in the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw.
"We invited many journalists and media representatives," Braun told Church Militant. "However, we do not know yet how many of them will arrive. The final list will be known just before the premiere."
Although the film will be originally released in Polish, Braun Movies will also make an English-language version. They hope to make it available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Martin Luther was a Catholic priest who left the Church and kick-started the Protestant revolution. According to legend, he nailed 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517. Some of his "theses" condemned the abuses of the day but others espoused theological errors about grace, salvation, the Sacraments and Holy Scripture.
In producing content for the movie, the filmmakers traveled to eight countries throughout Europe. They had on-camera interviews with experts in various academic fields and captured footage at historical sites associated with the early days of Protestantism. According to Braun, the team "interviewed 15 specialists from seven different countries." He noted that among the experts, "one American is also included."
"The viewers will be able to learn how far the popular, politically correct Luther is from the real historical one," Braun said.
Luther has been criticized — and not just by Catholics — for virulent anti-Semitism and for stirring people to violence against his political adversaries.
In the research and shooting for the film, the most surprising thing the filmmakers learned was Martin Luther's profound influence on "Bismarck, Hitler and Honecker."
Otto von Bismarck was chancellor of the German Empire from 1871–1890 and was a chief advisor to Kaiser Wilhelm. Bismarck has been called a warmonger by some historians. He engaged in a Kulturkampf or "culture struggle" against the Catholic Church, a sweeping effort to marginalize Catholics and isolate them from German political life.
Adolf Hitler, of course, was the infamous Nazi dictator who caused World War II and the Holocaust, which killed tens of millions of civilians. Hitler and the Nazis detested the Catholic Church because Catholic institutions and organizations were autonomous, free from government control. In the years prior to World War II, the Roman Catholic Church was one of the few organizations to take an official stance against Nazi ideology. The Vatican, under Ven. Pope Pius XII, saved nearly 800,000 Jews in World War II.
Erich Honecker was the Communist dictator of East Germany from 1971 to Communism's collapse in 1989. For most of his political career, he was an outspoken advocate of extreme and total isolation from the capitalist West. In 1961, he oversaw the building of the Berlin Wall; in 1989, he watched its destruction. During his reign, Honecker allegedly ordered soldiers patrolling the Berlin Wall to "shoot to kill" anyone from East Germany trying to escape.
These three German leaders, according to Braun, all drew inspiration from Martin Luther's rebellion against the Catholic Church. The filmmakers, while working on the movie, were stunned when they realized that the "majority of the memorials, monuments, museums and academic narrations about Luther and his revolution were produced for propaganda purposes by those brutal regimes."
The filmmakers are asking for donations to fund the completion of the film. Those interested in donating can scroll near the bottom of the English-language page on the Braun Movies website.