Based on Alex Kershaw’s 2012 book “The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey,” the new Netflix animated miniseries The Liberator is making sure the Latino and Indigenous soldiers who fought for the United States aren’t being left out of the narrative.
The Liberator tells the story of the 157th Infantry Regiment, who fought in one of the bloodiest battles in WWII against the Nazis over the course of 500 days. The series, which is animated on top of live-action scenes in a kind of advanced rotoscope method, includes soldiers with names like Corporal Able Gomez (played by actor Jose Miguel Vasquez), Private Cordosa (played by actor Matt Mercurio) and Private Garcia (played by actor Pedro Leandro).
In the trailer for the series, a high-ranking officer talks about why his troops are so important to him. “Those men – they’re the descendants of the powerful Mexican Army that defeated the French on Cinco de Mayo,” he says. “They’re the grandsons of the greatest Indian warriors to roam the American Plains. They’re my men.”
“Lots of diverse Americans were fighting to defeat Nazism,” Kershaw told NBC Latino. “They were also fighting to protect and preserve their idea of America.”
According to the U.S. National Parks Service, an estimated 500,000 Mexican Americans served in WWII.
“I hope our show honors the heroes of WWII that inspired it,” wrote actor Jose Miguel Vasquez on Instagram. “Gracias por tu sacrificio y tu valentía. Nos cambiaron la vida por el bien!”
The Liberator was released on Netflix Nov. 11.