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The Flat 2012 UNRATED CC

In his award-winning, emotionally riveting documentary, THE FLAT, Arnon Goldfinger follows the hints his grandparents left behind to investigate long-buried family secrets and unravel the mystery of their painful past. The result is a moving family portrait and an insightful look at the ways different generations deal with the memory of the Holocaust.

Starring:
Arnon Goldfinger, Hannah Goldfinger
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Arnon Goldfinger
Starring Arnon Goldfinger, Hannah Goldfinger
Studio IFC Films
MPAA rating Unrated
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
I enjoyed this film, though it was also painful to watch. I speak Hebrew fluently, which allowed me to catch nuances English language only viewers might miss--especially from the filmmaker's mother, Chana, who is both compassionate and, like many Israeli Jews of her generation, especially those with "yekke" parents (German Jews), self-protective and deeply ambivalent about the journey her son insists on taking. To her credit, she accompanies him, and for me, the heart of the story lay in that mother/son relationship and the journey, which despite many revelations, contains mysteries that cannot be answered; all the players (the Jewish Kuchlers and the German couple with whom they continued a warm social relationship after the war) are gone by the time the Kuchler's grandson begins his quest to understand the relationship between the two couples.

I disagree with some of the reviewers' take on the filmmaker's interaction with the German daughter of the filmmaker's grandparents' Nazi friend. I don't think he was trying to shame the daughter, but rather, telling the truth mattered, and although he appreciated her welcoming him and his mother into her home, what he found was fact, which he chose not to whitewash. When we're talking about something as brutal as genocide, and complicity or active involvement in that genocide, truth trumps the niceties of social interaction. I've spent time in Berlin, and when I was a kid in Israel, had close German non-Jewish friends whose families likely historically included Nazis, and what mattered to me was that we talked truthfully about the past.
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Format: DVD
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Imagine that your grandmother has just passed away and your family is cleaning out her apartment. Amidst all the stuff your grandmother has collected, you find a tantalizing and shocking newspaper article involving your grandparents that you never heard about before from any other family member including your mother. This is essentially the set-up for 'The Flat', a fascinating new documentary by Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger.

Goldfinger's grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, were German Jews who emigrated to Palestine (now Israel) in 1936 after the Nazis forced them out. The article was from a virulent Nazi newspaper, Der Angriff, from 1934, which chronicles a trip made by a high Nazi official, Leopold von Mildenstein, to Palestine. The article features photos of Mildenstein traveling to Palestine with Goldfinger's grandparents.

The mystery is not only why this SS man would go to Palestine with two Jews but why Goldfinger's grandparents would accompany him. Furthermore, Goldfinger discovers that his grandparents visited Mildenstein in Germany AFTER World War II numerous times and kept up a friendship with him and his wife.

The documentary brings out the fact that in 1934 the Nazi policy of 'The Final Solution' (i.e. the extermination of the Jewish people) had not been developed and there was some consideration of deporting German Jews to Palestine. Mildenstein apparently was on a scouting mission to see if deportation was a feasible solution to the "Jewish Question". Mildenstein actually headed the SS Office of Jewish Affairs prior to it being taken over by the infamous Adolph Eichmann.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This documentary certainly held my interest. What could be more shocking than finding out that your Jewish grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, remained life-long friends with a powerful Nazi insider who was a high-ranking officer in the department of propaganda? I found their daughter's complete disinterest and disconnect from all her parent's history both disturbing and baffling. Don't expect a neatly wrapped up ending. There are more questions than answers.
1 Comment 9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This documentary film starts with a seemingly banal story about an elderly grandmother having passed away in Israel and how family and friends go through the contents of the apartment . This part is done with appropriate level of humor but then a sinister secret unfolds. The grandparents connection and friendship with a notorious Nazi official intimately connected with "the final solution of the Jewish problem" and the Holocaust during WW II.
The story, the level of documentation, the characters and the filming are superb.
This is an intelligent and compelling story filmed in a sensitive and technically excellent manner.
Highly recommend to anyone interested in the period.
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Format: Amazon Video
Update: If you are interested in the subject of Post War Personal, Social & Cultural Restoration consider reading "The Finishing Touch" by Lester Libo? His historical novel puts you in the thick of people destructing and reinventing one's self after the chaos of war.

My perspective is born out of spending countless hours with victims of spiritual and social holocaust. This film requires a cognitive commitment to become involved and develop your own conclusions. At the end you have insights and more questions than answers about friendships surviving deceptive-evil times. It is a window into the gray shades of nationalistic ties with a youthful love of what was. There are multiple intersections between Germans and Jews who were "Good Germans", with their respective homes. The truthful relationships are extraordinary, you can see real pain at the intersection of what happened and mystified faces of adult children left with unexplained history. The documentary nears the end metaphorically in the cemetery with discussion around the mother's denial, over lost (or destroyed/stolen) grave stones, under the divinely choreographed weeping rain. Evil comes to lie, deceive, destroy and create chaos for power.

The WWII holocaust is one of many in historical context, over the span of history more Jews have died than any other "God Awing-Fearing" people group. But they are not alone in history. To bring about the "Communist Utopia" estimates of "Mass killings ... during twentieth century ... numbering between 85 and 100 million." see Mass killings under Communist regimes Wikipedia. Killing of innocent people for religious ideals (including the religions of Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism) is nothing new.
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