‘Hunters’: Real life facts and incidents behind Al Pacino-starring Amazon original
The streaming network’s latest drama thriller explores the historical events and facts that were used as the basis of the show and they are eye-opening.
After a joyride of more than 10 hours through a grungy, retro-themed story of 1970s New York City and watching some of the industry’s best at work, you might not give much thought to what went in the making of ‘Hunters’. And those of us whose curiosity usually gets the better of them, are likely to dig deep into history and find all kinds of information, theories, speculations, and what not to connect to the plot or the characters of the series.
So, we decided to make it simpler, faster, and easier and find out the real incidents that the show mines and takes inspiration from. Much before the show released any information to the press, the creators had claimed that it is loosely based on historical facts.
#1 Meyer Offerman’s character is an extract of Simon Wiesenthal
We all know that it revolves around Holocaust survivors. But what many might not know is that Meyer Offerman’s (Al Pacino) character is slightly inspired by a Holocaust survivor Simon Weisenthal. Weisenthal was a human rights activist who in 1977 started the Simon Wiesenthal Center (as did Offerman in the show) which was dedicated to seeking justice against the war criminals after WWII and helped in getting some of them tried for their crimes.
You would also be surprised to know that he was one of the key members of the team who helped trace down Adolf Eichmann. While the basis of Offerman’s character sketch is real, the on-screen persona, his acts, and the secret killing of Nazis are all creative liberty of the writer/creator.
#2 Many Nazis were unofficially and discreetly let into the US
Believe it or not, this part of the story is very real. After WWII, the United States government took in more than 1600 people from Germany, most of whom were SS officials under the Third Reich. They were taken in undocumented and given American passports/identities along with jobs spread across fields of scientific research and development, engineering and several other industries that contributed to American economic growth.
As shown in the series, President Truman rationalized such adoption on the grounds that they couldn’t lose such talent to the Soviets and in that attempt created an underground community of Nazis living on US soil. In fact, homeland security, immigration authorities, and the US Army were all aware of their existence and ensured that these people were away from the public eye. It was only in the early 70s that New York Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman took an initiative to uncover their identities once she was approached by an anonymous informant.
#3 Writer/director David Weil has a very personal connection to the plot.
The quirky and edgy, ragtag team of Meyer Offerman and his hunters might be a glorious fictional take, but Ruth Heidelbaum’s (Jeannie Berlin) character is very real. The showrunner David Weil based Ruth’s character on his own grandmother, Sara Weil, who was also a survivor from the concentration camps during WWII.
To summarize, this pulp-fiction like series is a visual delight in its own right, but all the right elements of filmmaking and referencing to facts and events, only makes it more worthwhile.
Catch all ten episodes of ‘Hunters’, currently streaming on Amazon.