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Woman in Berlin

159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the director of AIMEE & JAGUAR, this true story is based on an international bestseller. Set in 1945 during the Red Army invasion of Berlin. Women are victims of rape and devastation; one of them, Anonyma, had been a journalist and photographer. In her desperation, she decides to look for an officer who can protect her. She meets a Russian officer Andrej - an encounter which develops into a complex symbiotic relationship that forces them to remain enemies until the bitter end.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nina Hoss, Evgeny Sidikhin, Irm Hermann, Rudiger Vogler, Ulrike Krumbiegel
  • Directors: Max Faerberboeck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German, Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002KECJZ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Woman in Berlin" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"A Woman in Berlin" recounts the experiences of a German woman (Nina Hoss) during 8 weeks of the Battle of Berlin, April to June 1945, as the Soviet Union's Red Army overran parts of the city, and German civilians struggled to find food and shelter from mortars and snipers, as well as from the invading soldiers. After she and the women of her neighborhood are raped and beaten repeatedly by Red Army soldiers, she determines to get as much control of her desperate circumstances as possible. She seeks out an officer of the Red Army to whom she offers herself in exchange for his protection. Rebuffed at first by Major Andrei Rybkin (Yevgeni Sidikhin), the two develop a fond relationship of mutual escapism from the horrors around them.

The protagonist is nameless. Until recently, she was known only as "Anonyma", the name under which she published her memoirs in Germany in 1959. They were not well-received. The author was accused of shaming German women with her descriptions of prostitution for protection. The memoirs were not published again until 2003, when "A Woman in Berlin" became a bestseller in Germany, and its author's identity was revealed as Marta Hillers. Hillers was a journalist and minor Nazi propagandist who spoke German, Russian, and French. There is reportedly some material in the book that was not in her diaries from 1945, so it may have been embellished for publication, though the circumstances are similar to many other accounts of civilian experiences in parts of the city controlled by the Red Army during the Battle of Berlin.

There are nasty scenes of battle, as remnants of the German Army try to defend the city against an angry and marauding Red Army, with civilians caught in the crossfire.
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Erik Gfesser VINE VOICE on December 20, 2009
Format: DVD
Extremely moving film based on a memoir entitled "Anonyma" that was first published in 1959. Because the book was considered an affront to the honor of German women at the time, it was met with outrage and condemnation, and the author reacted by banning new editions for as long as she lived, her name not to be revealed even after her death. In some respect, the protagonist in this movie reminds this reviewer of Wolfgang Samuel's mother in "German Boy: A Child in War" (see my review), another memoir recounting events of the same era, although the periodic prostitution Samuel eventually acknowledged his mother had committed in order to survive the ravages of the second world war is significantly overshadowed here. Rather than isolated stints, the woman in this account develops an ongoing relationship with a Major in the Russian army in order to protect herself from the wholesale rape inflicted by hoards of Russian soldiers taking advantage of a defenseless German civilian population void of the many men who were sent to Russian slave labor camps. Hearing the frequent, gleeful statements of Russian soldiers that Germany is now simply a "whorehouse" now that "old Germany is finished" and that there are no men to protect the women, along with the scenes of rape reminiscent of "A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans" (see my review), was depressing for this reviewer, resulting in not viewing this film in its entirety in one sitting. While troubling for most who view this film, the memories shared by immediate Donauschwaben (Danube Swabian) family members who over the years have shared their concentration camp experiences following the Russian invasion of Yugoslavia magnified these aspects for this reviewer.Read more ›
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By K. Jeannette on November 29, 2009
Format: DVD
I saw this film with a holocaust survivor whose camp was liberated by Soviet Red Army soldiers reeking of Vodka. He was blown away by the realism of the film, as was I. The woman protagonist lives through the invasion of the Red Army soldiers in Berlin at the close of WWII and the occupation after the fall of the city.

The situation of women in war becomes all too clear as the description of Berlin as one big whorehouse is mentioned more than once. Women of all ages are forced to submit to rape over and over again. (My holocaust-survivor friend said Soviet soldiers even raped women they liberated in the concentration camps!)

Our anonymous protagonist, who has the advantage of being able to speak Russian, decides she will find the Commander of the troops and submit only to him, and thereby get protection. Not only does she survive the invasion, but she even finds her heart responding to the man who protects her.

A fascinating contrast is revealed in the attitude of Berlin Germans toward Russians (Germans, proud of their culture, considered the Russians barbarians and animals) to the described actions of German soldiers, who, when in Russia, picked up children by their feet and killed them by bashing their heads into walls. Also contrast that to Russian soldiers who, although they drunkenly raped women indiscriminately, did not target children for killing and exhibited a desire to be home with their families. I sensed the beginning of post-war German guilt in our protagonist when a Russian soldier describes the German soldiers' murder of children.

One is left with both the horror of war, especially as it affects women, and the stunning will to survive whatever happens and, curiously, the way human connections can interject themselves in the midst of war.
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