Film Review - The People Vs Fritz Bauer - When History Is Hidden

 

Festival winner, the German film The People Vs Fritz Bauer tells the 1957 struggle of Hessen's Attorney General Fritz Bauer and his obsession with finding Adolph Eichmann to bring to justice. 

The People Vs Fritz Bauer - photos from Cohen Media

Having fled during Hitler's reign and returning from exile in Denmark, Fritz Bauer (Burghart Klaussner) is determined not only to see justice done and but fear for the future of his country.  He soon realizes that most of the government officials now in office are still Nazi-sympathizers and glorifying in their past war efforts. 

Fanatical about preventing Fritz from pursuing his discovery, Federal Office of Criminal Investigation officer Paul Gebhardt (Jorg Schuttauf) joins with public prosecutor Ulrich Kreidler (Sebastian Blomberg) as they attempt to murder Fritz and to make it appear as a suicide.   They are thwarted when Fritz's assistant State Attorney Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld) discovers Fritz and summons help. 

The People Vs Fritz Bauer - photos from Cohen Media

Fritz continues to try and educate the younger generation on what had really happened, to break the silence, and to come to terms with their past.  For his efforts receives death threats.

 

Receiving a letter from a stranger in Buenos Aires that he believes Eichmann lives nearby, Fritz attempts to get the government involved, but no one will help.  No one wants to see Eichmann on trial in Germany.  In desperation, even though he knows it is treason, Fritz flies to Israel hoping to get the Mossad involved, meets with Israeli attorney general Chaim Cohen (Dani Levy)  and Mossad director Isser Harel (Tilo Werner).  He ends up hiring a journalist Morlach (Paulus Manker) to help find more information.

 

Even as Eichmann is arrested by Mossad and Karl and Fritz celebrate, the higher ups are not pleased and are determined to still bring them down especially both men - Fritz and Karl - hide a secret.   Attracted to men, they fear for their professional lives since  Paragraph 175 of the German Code made homosexuality a federal crime.   When Karl's dalliance is discovered, he's threatened.  Expose his boss or go to jail, himself….

The People Vs Fritz Bauer - photos from Cohen Media

In the 1960s, Fritz is instrumental in establishing the Auschwitz trials, however, his participation in helping to capture Eichmann was not known until many years after his death. 

Director Lars Kraume, screenwriter Olivier Guez and producers Thomas Kufus and Christopher Friedel have drawn a powerful portrait of a courageous man battling for truth and justice, an outsider fighting against an all-powerful system. 

Other notables in the movie included Laura Tonke, Gotz Schubert, Cornelia Groschel, Robert Atzorn, Matthias Weidenhofer, Rudiger Klink, and Michael SchenkCohen Media Group is the distributor. 

Since it was in German with English subtitles, it would have been nice to be able to read them.  Sometimes the white or light background swallowed up the words making it hard to read.  But it wasn't necessary to read each and every word to know the intense impact of this story.

I highly recommend the story not only as education for our young, but education for those of us who lived through that perilous time.

It is being shown at select theatres around the world and a listing is available at the Cohen Media site. 

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