Yes, This Nazi-Killing Video Game Hero Was Of Jewish Descent

Yes, This Nazi-Killing Video Game Hero Was Of Jewish Descent

There's been speculation for more than two decades that the hero of the iconic Wolfenstein first-person shooter games — B.J. Blazkowicz, the guy who you use to machine gun hordes of Nazis — was Jewish. But the game's creators have long been coy about the character's origins. Not so much anymore.

It's not clear if the next Wolfenstein game, slated for release on May 20 from Machine Games and Bethesda Softworks, will be explicit about it. When we last saw the game, it appeared to avoid the topic directly despite making a reference to Blazkowicz being able to read Hebrew and forcing an undercover Blazkowicz to stomach the prattling of Nazis about people with "pure blood". Admittedly we saw only a thin slice of the game and, for all we know, the full, new Wolfenstein might be more explicit.

Over the weekend, a gamer posed the question about Blazkowicz's possible Jewish roots to John Carmack, formerly of id Software, the studio that created 1992's original Wolfenstein 3D even before it made the famous Doom. Carmack told the fan he assumed so, but directed the question to the Wolfenstein 3D's lead designer, Tom Hall:

Last year, Hall told Kotaku that whether Blazkowicz was Jewish "was never specified or intended at the time, though I intended him to be of Polish descent."

His answer this weekend, made things more clear:

Knowing whether Blazkowicz is Jewish is unlikely to affect whether old or new Wolfenstein games play well, but it may well feel different to play a game full of bad-guy Nazis if you think the guy you're playing is Jewish. It seems like that's a safe assumption, one that expands gaming's coverage of a culture and faith it has largely ignored and that just might make this year's Wolfenstein, set for release on May 20, a bit more interesting.


    :) אני חשבתי כל אחד יודע זה

      True, I think everyone kind of assumed.

      Yeah. It was pretty much obvious.

      And in news .... The Pope's been discovered to be a catholic!

      ו.י. ו.א.י., השפה הישנה אבל כן, אני חושב מהשם שהם בחרו, היו רעיון.

    I figured he was just getting revenge on whoever stole his neck.

    Looks a bit like Matt Hughes, but he's a hardcore christian.

      He looks like the lovechild of Matt Hughes and Brian Stann.

    But does he have special jew powers like in stick of truth!?

      It explains why he picks up treasure but never spends it.

    ID not paying any attention to the backstory. This is how we ended up with RAGE, the soulless beast that it is.

    I think they, and you guys are kidding yourself to think anyone realistically cares about a Wallenstein game.

    John Carmack needs to stop being so idolized by people too. I don't think he's ever done anything that incredible in his entire career that someone else couldn't have done, since very little of it shows any serious creative insight. Even the occulus rift, which is pretty cool (and not all his work), is basically a screen strapped to your face.. People have known that would be a good idea when the technology was available since like, 1861 (lol)

      Carmac's main skill is getting stuff to work, which is really his main job on the oculus rift.

      Knowing that VR is a good idea, vs bringing something to market that works are two very different things.

        This. He's a programmer/technical director, not a creative artist. There's no shortage of professionals who can attest to the fact he's an extraordinarily gifted technical mind. He's also responsible for some pretty groundbreaking innovations, particularly in designing video game engines and software.

        Last edited 04/03/14 12:28 pm

          I think in reality, the Occulus has very little to do with his skill, and more to do with the new levels of technology now available, and also the fact that gaming has absolutely exploded over the last X years into one of the biggest consumer markets in the world.

          The same with a lot of his other "innovations" like mega textures.. Unique textures for entire worlds are something that people have ALWAYS wanted, it's just that technology is now able to support such a dream.. Baking textures has been hailed as a huge breakthrough when in reality the process is very similar and draws heavily from traditional 3D CG renderings for stuff like movies.

      @michael_debyl, we should stop idolising Carmack and concentrate on the important things. Like why people who have achieved nothing feel the need to put down talented and accomplished programmers...

        That's essentially the opposite of my point. My point is don't worry about what he does, or how "revolutionary" it is, as though you couldn't do what he does, and focus on yourself.

      As a computer programmer and engineer, John Carmack has long been one of my idols since I was a child. The fact that you are such a colossal ignoramus that you can't recognize the genius in the work he's done is your shortcoming, not his.

        Heh, you're entitled to your opinion. I'm purely talking about technical details. I'm sure he's a great guy, and very dedicated... Just like most other people.

    So even though he specifically said previously that this "was never specified or intended at the time", this is now the way it has always been...

    I honestly always thought - from childhood - that it was just obvious.

    (Edit: I don't know why I thought that, it's not like the name is synonymous with Jewish folk, but I dunno. It just seemed right.)

    Last edited 04/03/14 10:30 am

      I assumed that too. Always thought Blazkowicz was a Polish Jew out to avenge his family.

      I never really thought about it directly, to be honest - but it seems right.

    I never really felt like he had any motivations beyond getting to the end of the levels in Wolfenstein 3D, so I didn't think of him as anything more than a generic American soldier. I was pretty young when I first played it so I just assumed he wanted to kill Nazi's for the same reason everyone else did. I guess in retrospect that assumption makes sense, after all out of all the people I knew who fought Nazi's none of them were Jewish.

    The more important point is that do people realise that B.J. Blazkowicz is the grandfather of Billy Blaze aka. Commander Keen?

      Where did you find this out? Mind: Blown.

    Translation, they're going to announce a Wolfenstien movie soon.

    That awkward moment when the Jewish hero finds a supernaturally powerful relic from the life of Jesus in the sequel, Wolfenstien 2: The Spear of Destiny.

    Massive deja vu here, didn't we have a similar article a year or two ago and I commented "I already knew this somehow" and a lot of other people replied the same?

    Come on they guy looks like he could be a nazi!

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