Warning: Stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet! Really, you should not read this before if you want to enjoy all the details of the movie!


Jojo attends a weekend Hitlerjugend training and he’s injured by a grenade. Consequently, he is forced to stay at home and he discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the house. Being indoctrinated with Nazi ideology, he initially considers the girl a thing but he slowly turns affectionate to her. Eventually, she is discovered by Gestapo, so she pretends to be Jojo’s dead sister. Meanwhile, Jojo’s mother is executed (because she helped a resistance movement). Uncertainty of the pair’s destiny is interrupted by the final fights of the WW II when even children are sent to the first lines and no one cares about Jews. Jojo is captured by Russians and treated as a soldier but Captain K (also captured) sacrifices himself to save Jojo.


Jojo (Johannes Betzler)

  • 10 years old boy, fascinated (and manipulated) by Nazi propaganda
  • his imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler
  • rejects violence


  • Inge is Jojo’s deceased sister, Elsa is Jewish girl in similar age (17) and appearance
  • her parents are dead, she survives in the hideout
  • she’s more mature than Jojo and uses that to convince/manipulate him

Mother (Rosie Betzler)

  • single mother (her husband went to the Italian front but the ending implies he’s dead)
  • we don’t know what’s her job, later, she turns out to collaborate with the resistance
  • slightly alcoholic
  • despite she treats Jojo as adult (talking about politics), she never learns that Jojo discovered Elsa (although she suspects that)

Captain K

  • he lost an eye in the war, so he’s manager of a Deutchesvolk institution in the rear
  • burn out Nazi, slightly alcoholic and exhibitionist (designs a fancy colourful uniform)

Adolf Hitler

  • imaginary character
  • acts bit silly, more childish than Jojo (it’s his imagination anyway)


  • Jojo’s (only?) friend who completes the Hitlerjugend training and we can watch his “carreer”
  • he is the funny character in the plot (unkillable, also naïve Nazi as Jojo)

Fraülein Rahm

  • also works in the HY institution
  • mother of eighteen children, devoted Nazi
  • simple-minded and cruel, superstitious


  • manipulation of child mind by propaganda
  • (positive) view of the war by the naïve child
  • cloned Aryan children (perhaps inspired by Lebensborn)
  • despair of Germans at the end of the war (paper uniforms)
  • dilemma whether to turn Elsa in or help her (the former means he’d be persecuted)
  • public executions of traitors of the Reich
  • Jojo’s book on Jews as their exposé (basically retells the fake propaganda)
  • (American) English shorthands for German names (Johannes – Jojo, cpt. Klenzendorf – cpt. K, Jörgen – Yorki)
  • Gestapo officers looking like Jehova witnesses
  • scene where the couple is watching town destruction through window during battle (cf. Fight Club)
  • heilhitler as a greeting/verb (“Heilhitler everyone!”, also used in repetition as in an absurd drama)


The plot is forward going, there are no major twists (we can guess that the mother would help the resistance, similarity of Elsa and Inge is also obvious early in the beginning). The fake Hitler, war efforts and Nazi institutions look like a parody but it is actually based on real stories. The exteriors convinced me that German town(s) (fictional Falkenheim) look like Czech but closing titles revealed the movie is half-Czech (it was shot in Czechia and almost all technical jobs listed Czech names). I appreciate that the American(?) actors spoke their English with German accents (not the main figure, the actor is likely too young to mimic accents).

I noticed some inconsistencies – the town is liberated both by Americans and Russians at the same time, which sounds improbable. The second mistake is Inge’s age, where Elsa says she’s 17 years old and her birthday is May 7, 1929 but the scene happens in 1945.