© Filmlichter/Filmwelt

Menachem & Fred
Germany 2008

Opening 1 Oct 2009

Directed by: Ronit Kertsner
Writing credits: Ofra Tevet

What becomes home when you are forced to leave it? This is a documentary about the Mayer brothers, who finally are reunited after finally reading the last letter that they had received from their parents before the parents died in Auschwitz. It took Menachem and Fred thirty years to face their past, recover their history and bring their current families together. They grew up in a small German town called Hoffenheim when WWII broke out. The family was kicked out of their house and fled to France. Emil Hopp, an SA officer, was responsible and in doing so took over their house and raised his family there. The brothers, now in their 70s, follow the journey back in time to their last moments with their parents in a French-controlled concentration camp. Life in the camp was unbearable, but the families were given the opportunity to save their children. They could either give their children up to an orphanage not far away or keep them in the camp, a difficult decision to make when no one was certain of the outcome. Their parents made the right decision and sent them away. This was something the boys could not really understand at the time but later realized that it saved their lives. The documentary follows Menachem and Fred as they become separated. One ends up in America and the other in Israel. Many surprises are hidden in this documentary, including that one of SAP founders, Dietmar Hopp, was the son of Emil Hopp. He in turn, along with his brother and sister, face their past, try to make up for the terrible deeds of their father and, together with the Mayer brothers, give hope to the future generations. This documentary shows how devastating war is, even for the younger generations who survive, and how much time is needed to recover. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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