Thursday, March 20, 2008

Die Fälscher: Must See

I had heard this story before as well as of the Nazi gold and printing presses lying at the bottom of the mysterious lake Toplitz in Austria. And while this was not a 'German' film about the holocaust, it was an Austrian one and the first I have seen by either Austria or Germany on the holocaust. (Did you know the joke that in Austria Hitler is a German and Mozart an Austrian.) That said, the Germans really do a far better job at examining their awful twentieth century in books and films than any of the victor nations. The Tin Drum, Das Boot, Sophie Scholl, and Downfall, to name a few, have not so far as I have experienced been matched. (Special mention should go to the Finnish The Winter War) and I have not seen enough Soviet Cinema to comment.)The scenes in Mauthausen in Die Fälscher were particularly poignant for me. I visited Mauthausen, along the Austrian/Slovenian border, many years ago and found myself simply unable to connect the atrocities committed there with the weather damaged make shift buildings and boarded walks that I tread on that beautiful Austrian summer day in the mountains. Afterwards, we descended the hill to a local tavern for bone soup and a plate of cold meats, fine potato salad and very good beer. And then it dawned on me, the tavern was far older than the camp and I was sitting at a table that Officers of the camp would have drank at in their off hours. After seeing Die Fälscher I poked around on the net a bit to see how true the film was. It was.

IMDB entry here.

Small European World:

A German fighter ace has just learned that one of his 28 wartime 'kills' was his favourite author.

Messerschmidt pilot Horst Rippert, 88, said he would have held his fire if he had known the man flying the Lightning fighter was renowned French novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The fliers clashed in the skies over southern France in July 1944.

I have heard of these stories before. I remember hearing about an WWII RAF Pilot visiting a family in Germany. Unusually, the topic of the war came up and what they did in the war. The head of the German family was also a pilot in the war. After retrieving his log books, they realized that they had first met in the air over the channel.

More here.