© Film Kino Text

Germany 2017

Opening 27 Sep 2018

Directed by: Christoph Hübner, Gabriele Voss
Writing credits: Christoph Hübner, Gabriele Voss

Filmmakers Hübner and Voss give seven people the opportunity to discuss their connections to relatives who experienced the Holocaust more than 70 years ago. Five are sons, daughter or grandson of Nazis, who served in the military as soldiers, doctor or pilot.  Two, a grandson and a granddaughter, had Jewish relatives, who suffered. All stand before the camera and share their experiences of researching the lives of their relatives, including the reluctance to do so, the shame of discovering unwelcome historical facts, taking on the burden of guilt over generations, and also whether “people have the right not to forgive.” They go to an exhibit in Berlin called Topographie des Terrors, as well as Auschwitz. They show someone making Stolpersteine which are set into the sidewalks in Hamburg and other German cities, to remember individual victims. There is a huge archive in Ludwigsburg.

Most amazing to me was that Hübner and Voss could find people willing to discuss this very personal history, their relationship to someone whom they loved and admired.  All participants are introduced with their real names at the end of the film. The greatest service of the film, which contains much information that is not new to us, is that it brings up the opportunity to discuss the past, but also to keep our attention on the present and the future. Horrific deeds do not disappear, but what can we do about it besides remember?  One participant, an artist, made art work out of the word Nachlass, which means inheritance, bequest or legacy. He turned it around into Lass nach which means “leave behind, let off” which suggests that we go forward and become more aware of present problems and horrors, about which we should feel responsible. This is a difficult film to judge, partly because the topic has been discussed for many years, and partly because each viewer watches it burdened with his/her own origins and preconceptions. Television stations ZDF and 3sat are sponsors of this film, which means that we’ll also have the opportunity to see it on television. (Becky Tan)

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