Netflix film, Will, directed by Tim Mielants, makes us privy to two police officers working for the Antwerp police force and harboring a conflict within them, not understanding what they should do and what they shouldn’t. The story begins in 1942, when Antwerp was under the control of Nazi Germany, and the Jews were being expelled from the city. So, let’s find out what happened in Netflix’s film, Will, and if the police officers were able to deal with their internal conflict or not.
What happened to the military personnel?
The Antwerp local police were working with the Nazi soldiers who had occupied the area. There were people in Antwerp who were ardent supporters of Hitler and his ideology, and they believed that the nation would greatly benefit if it was free of Jewish people. It could be said that the entire society was being brainwashed and made to believe that Jews did not deserve to live. Somehow, Hitler and his team of strategists was able to create a divide, and he tapped into the insecurities of the common man, making him believe that a Jewish man was like a threat to his well-being and no less than a plague to the nation. We all know that there was no logical basis for those claims, and that is why it was even more shocking that millions of people bought into that bizarre theory. That is why when politicians today try to sway the votes in their favor by misleading people using propaganda, every person who has some knowledge about what happened during World War II perceives it as a threat to the nation. Hitler knew how to manipulate and brainwash people. He made sure that they heard and saw what he wanted them to, and he was well aware that, slowly, his narrative would be believed to be the universal truth by the masses. But then there were a few who did not get swayed, and they wanted to do something about the situation. Will and Lode were in the police force, and they saw how the entire nation was burning with hate.
One night, they were going out when a “feldgendarmerie,” i.e., a German military police personal, was going to arrest a man who had refused to follow the orders that were sent from the high command. Now, the rule said that a German soldier needed to have at least two officers from the local police force when he was going to make the arrest. Will and Lode went with him, and they saw how he physically and verbally abused the family and tortured them to give him money. When Chaim Lizke wasn’t able to find any money, the soldier took him and his family with him. On the way, the woman named Myriam, finding the opportunity, ran with her daughter. The German soldier ran after her and she was finally caught. Lode and William couldn’t tolerate what was unfolding before their eyes, and they attacked the German officer. They killed him and put his body there itself in the manhole that was kept there. They promised each other not to talk about it ever again, as they knew the consequences they would have to face if the SS squad came to know about it.
Where did Wilfred hide the Jewish family?
After that incident, both Lode and Wilfred were very scared, and the latter’s family called Wilfred home as they felt that he would inform the authorities about what had happened. Lode had a sister named Yvette, and she grilled Will thoroughly and told him that if he snitched on her brother, then she would kill him herself. Will told her that he had no such intention and that he was not lying. An influential man named Verschaffel, from whom Will’s father had taken money, had grown to like Will, as he was very fond of his artistic sensibilities. Will was a good painter, and Verschaffel wanted him to practice his art and become one of the best in the “Jew-free” land. He gave him a house, and he told him to use it as his workstation and paint whatever he wanted to. The first thing that Will did was bring the Lizke family there and hide them. Lode got very angry when he got to know that he had such good relations with a pro-Nazi. But when he realized that Will was using his contacts to save the Jews, he calmed down. Around this time in the film, Yvette introduced Will to the White Brigade, a resistance group that was working to save the Jews. The professor, who was the leader of the pack, asked Will to use his contacts and find out information about the German raids that were supposed to happen in the near future. Yvette and Will developed a liking for each other, and they started meeting quite often. Yvette was a very impulsive girl, but she was dedicated to the cause, and that is why she respected Will even more.
How did Gregor come to know about the dead soldier?
Since the beginning of the film, we have heard the name of Gregor Schnabel, who was the chief secretary of the secret field police. Gregor was a dangerous man, and Verschaffel told Will how he passed on the information to him four years before the war had started. That was how Verschaffel had won his trust, and through him, the Nazi officer had heard a lot of good things about Will too. There was a twist when Will went to a party together with Yvette, and he found that his aunt was dating Gregor, and both of them were apparently quite close to each other. Gregor made his intentions very clear the moment he saw Will. Will felt threatened because he was an unreliable and intimidating man, and no one knew if he was joking or talking seriously. The worst possible thing that Will could do there was get drunk and have a fight with a man present there. In that inebriated state, Will ended up telling the man he was fighting that he would put him in the same canal where the German officer was lying. Gregor was observing everything since he was not drinking, and Lode and Will’s secret came out in the open. Gregor found the leader of the white brigade also, and he killed him in front of Will. Will didn’t accept until the end that it was he and Lode who were behind the murder. Because of his silence, another officer named Jean was taken into custody by the German soldiers and tortured to the point where he just couldn’t take more. Will cursed himself for getting drunk and committing that mistake, but he knew that there was no going back, and he would have to find a way to survive.
Was Yvette able to save the Jews?
During Will‘s ending, we saw that Gregor caught the Lizke family in Brussels, and he killed them. Gregor gave orders to raid Jewish houses, and he told Will that if he tried to betray him this time and resorted to any foul play, then he would kill him and his friend. Will went back and told Lode and Yvette what had happened. He told them about the threat and asked them not to do anything that put their lives in jeopardy. Will had accepted the fact that having a conscience was a sort of luxury in such times, and to survive, he would have to do things that he wouldn’t be proud of. He told Lode to wear his uniform, and both of them went together with the forces to raid Jewish houses. Yvette knew that she wouldn’t be able to help the Jewish people, but she just couldn’t bear the pain and decided to take her own life. Will stood there and saw the girl he adored and loved to die in front of his own eyes. Will and Lode survived that day, and they knew that history wouldn’t be kind to them, but they stood by their choice as they knew that nobody could understand their dilemma and the kind of internal conflict they faced that day.