Germans and Jews


Castro Theatre Sat, Jul 23, 2016 12:00 PM
Cinearts at Palo Alto Square Thu, Jul 28, 2016 12:00 PM
Roda Theatre Tue, Aug 2, 2016 4:40 PM
Film Info
Director(s):Janina Quint
Editor(s):Michael Culyba
Cinematographer:Adolfo Doring
Amanda Zackem
Country:United States
Year of Production:2015
Running Time:76 min.
German w/ English subtitles
Premiere Status:West Coast


Sponsored by the Laszlo N. Tauber Philanthropic Fund.

This thoughtful documentary is a subtle and affecting examination of the history of Germany’s postwar Jewish population and of the fraught and fragile relations between Jews and non-Jews. The filmmakers stay in the background and let the story be told entirely through interviews, with no voiceover narration. Structured around a dinner party attended by Germans and Jews—some of whom were born in Germany, some who are “Germans by choice”—the film negotiates sensitive questions of memory, guilt, identity and redemption with grace and aplomb. Middle-aged Germans who grew up largely ignorant of the Hitler era discuss key moments, such as the Eichmann trial or the broadcast of the American Holocaust miniseries that awakened them to the nightmare of Germany’s past and of the culpability of family members. Jewish Germans, including immigrants from Israel and Russia, talk about their appreciation for contemporary, democratic Germany, albeit with some ambivalence. Curious questions arise that many Americans have never considered. What was life like for Jews growing up in East Germany? How does Germany’s growing Muslim community respond to the Holocaust education that is an essential part of the school curriculum? This sensitive film gives us access to many sides of a crucial historical dialogue. —Seth Barron