In the summer of 2012 conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh labeled Camp Kinderland, “extremist,” pointed to its “Communist roots,” and accused it of indoctrinating children. Comedian Katie Halper, a Kinderland alum, decided there was just one way to get to the bottom of the allegations: go back to camp.
For one summer Halper followed four nine-year-olds as they experienced Camp Kinderland. They muddle through Yiddish lessons, compete in the World Peace Olympics (Kinderland’s answer to color war), stage a protest against police brutality, and explore an in-camp exhibit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In the resulting documentary, Commie Camp, Halper explores the history of Kinderland, which was founded in 1923 by Jewish activists as a refuge for their children from the tenements of NYC, her family’s very personal connection to the camp, and the way that the camp inspires social justice activism in its campers and alumni.
Not everyone is a “camp person” but this hilarious and educational movie appeals to even the decidedly non-rustic among us.
Watch a trailer for the film: