A German Life


Castro Theatre Sun, Jul 24, 2016 12:15 PM
Cinearts at Palo Alto Square Mon, Jul 25, 2016 3:15 PM
Film Info
Director(s):Christian Krönes
Olaf Muller
Roland Schrotthofer
Florian Weigensamer
Editor(s):Christian Kermer
Cinematographer:Frank Vught
Year of Production:2016
Running Time:113 min.
Language(s):German w/English subtitles
Premiere Status:US
Genre-Subject:Documentary Feature
Orthodox Judaism
Religion & Spirituality


From 1942 until the end of the war, Brunhilde Pomsel worked as a secretary, stenographer and typist for Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Nazi minister for propaganda. At 105 years old today, she is the last living witness to have seen the machinations of Nazi power from the inside. Shot in stark black-and-white and often in extreme close-up, directors Christian Krönes, Olaf Müller, Roland Schrotthofer and Florian Weigensamer allow her to recount in detail her life during these dark times. She describes herself as not at all interested in politics and that she only joined the Nazi party because everyone else did. It was expected if she wanted to keep her job. Her impassive reminiscing about her one Jewish friend is particularly noteworthy. Whether it is because of her proximity to these architects of evil or her lucidity at such an advanced age, her testimony is nothing short of riveting. Intercut with her story is an array of powerful and sometimes ironic archival clips from American and German propaganda films as well as some harrowing concentration camp footage. The juxtaposition adds context and complexity to an already mesmerizing account. As one watches A German Life it will be hard not to ask the disturbing and timely question, “What would I have done in this situation?” —Jay Rosenblatt

Note: Mature Content

Directors Christopher Krönes and Florian Weigensamer in person in San Francisco and Palo Alto