Call of Duty World War 2 video game will include a Jewish character, and address the Holocaust

Meet PFC Robert Zussman, the first explicitly Jewish character in the blockbusting Call Of Duty video game franchise


Call of Duty: WWII, the latest game in the hit first-person shooter video game franchise, is to include at least one Jewish character, as well as discussion of the Holocaust.

In the latest instalment of the popular series, due to be released in early November, players will control 19-year-old Private First Class Ronald "Red" Daniels, whose best friend is fellow PFC Robert Zussman, a Jew from the south side of Chicago.

In a new trailer for the game released on Monday night, one scene shows captured American troops, including the two characters. A Nazi officer can be seen asking “where are the Jews”, in German.

“Lose the tags”, an American soldier hisses, surreptitiously tugging off his military dog tags and grinding them under his heel.

“They’re after Jews”.

For identification purposes in case of injury or death, dog tags include a soldier’s name, rank and religion.

The Nazi then addresses PFC Zussman, asking him the same question. It is not clear what the Jewish soldier’s response is, but the Nazi then pistol whips the captured soldier (hitting him across the face with his gun) and has him dragged to a cattle car.

Bret Robbins, the senior creative director of the game, told the Mashable tech news website back in April about the character – but last night Call of Duty fans were finally able to put a face to the name.

"We didn't want to shy away from history. We wanted to be very respectful of it," Mr Robbins told the tech site. 

"Some very, very dark things happened during this conflict and it felt wrong for us to ignore that.

“We absolutely show atrocities. It's an unfortunate part of the history, but... you can't tell an authentic, truthful story without going there. So we went there."

The creative director also told Mashable that the focus would not just be on how the Germans treated minorities, but on American attitudes as well.

"Unfortunately, there was antisemitism," he said. "There was racism. It's actually a very big part of our story, the fact that that stuff existed, it was real, and our characters deal with it."

He referenced the way certain US soldiers react to fellow soldiers who are black, as well as to PFC Zussman.

"Right out of the gate we tackle the fact head-on that not everyone in the squad is comfortable with the fact that he's Jewish”, he said.

“And that was just a reality of the time. This is something this character has had to deal with his entire life."

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