Help Make This Documentary About a German Soldier During World War II
‘The Color of Fire’ will be a rare first-hand account… if we fund it
Dorian Warneck’s father — Diether — is a World War II veteran. He fought for the Third Reich in Hitler’s army. It wasn’t something Dorian’s family talked a lot about growing up.
“These are stories that I don’t think he has felt comfortable talking about for most of his life,” Dorian told War Is Boring.
“I certainly did not grow up hearing these stories. It was never the cliche — ‘Well back when I was in the war…’ situation that people often have with their parents or grandparents.”
Today, Dorian works for the production company Lunch & Recess, which is working to finish The Color of Fire, a documentary about his father.
It looks to be an intimate portrait of one man’s time fighting for Germany during the darkest period of its history.
It’s rare to see sympathetic portrayals of German World War II veterans. The Third Reich was the aggressor in a global conflict that killed upwards of 80 million people, reshaped the world’s borders and unleashed the depravity of the Holocaust.
But a responsible film can tell us about Diether’s experiences. The Nazi regime brought horrors down on Germany — which lost between seven and nine million people during the war. More than three million of those were civilians.
Diether’s girlfriend was one of those civilians. They both lived in Dresden.
The Allies dropped almost 4,000 tons of fire and explosives onto the city in the middle of February 1945. Tens of thousands of civilians died, including Warneck’s girlfriend.
He survived and rode his bicycle to the front line to join the fighting. He was 15 years old. His time as a Nazi soldier lasted a month. That month haunted him for the rest of his life.
“I had love experiences afterwards,” he explains in the trailer. “I had working experiences, hundreds of … but nothing is as completely occupying as this war situation. And it was really … it was a month, one month which is an unbelievable month in somebody’s life.”
The documentary will recount that month — and much more.
“This movie is not meant to be a World War II History Channel documentary,” Dorian told War Is Boring. “Not everything in the film is meant to be taken for fact or absolute truth, it is a personal account.”
Warneck survived the war. He worked, started a family and eventually emigrated to the United States.
“When my brother and I were kids and he would pick us up from school, the other kids would hear his German accent and they would call my brother and I Nazis,” Dorian explains in the Kickstarter video for the documentary.
“What they didn’t know was that my dad actually had served in the German army under Hitler’s rule during World War II and his father was an official member of the Nazi party.”
Warneck opened up to his children about his past when they were teenagers, and the experience still haunts both father and son. Recently, Warneck’s health began to decline and Dorian decided it was time to document his story.
The Color of Fire will be a series of one-on-one interviews with Warneck, as well as footage of both the father and son traveling back to Germany to reconnect with relatives.
It looks to be an accounting of a side of World War II that is very rarely portrayed — that of the German soldier. Historians and buffs of the world’s largest and most destructive conflict would benefit from seeing it.
“World War II is perhaps the most tragic and horrific example of the awfulness of war,” Dorian told War Is Boring.
“But it is far from being an isolated event, in every war there are people fighting for their country in the name of patriotism, nationalism. The idea of being a hero, in protecting the place that they live and love — often times the only place they’ve ever known.”
“But how often do these people really understand what they are fighting for? Too often, nationalism is blind.”
The Color of Fire is almost finished. Dorian and his father have taken the trip, and the son has shot all of his footage and edited it together. He’s just a few thousand dollars short of paying for a film score and the entrance fees to film festivals.
But he’s got a Kickstarter and he’s inching towards his goal. As of this writing, he’s missing just $3,428 of the $10,000 he needs. I kicked in $10 and I’m hoping that some others will, too.
Let’s help make this unique film happen.