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The Flat

4.1 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In the gripping autobiographical documentary THE FLAT, filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of his recently deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. While going through her belongings, Goldfinger finds evidence suggesting that she and her husband were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official in the Nazi propaganda ministry and remained friends with him following World War II. Disturbed that his grandparents could have continued a close relationship with an influential Nazi after the Holocaust, Goldfinger begins an unsettling journey into his family s history, visiting a peaceful town in Germany to interview von Mildenstein s elderly daughter about what really went on with their ancestors 75 years earlier and discovers that knowing the truth can be a terrible burden. Both arresting and heartbreaking, THE FLAT is a real-life suspense story about how the past can return to haunt the present.

Product Details

  • Actors: Arnon Goldfinger, Hannah Goldfinger
  • Directors: Arnon Goldfinger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, Hebrew
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AADAEH6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,719 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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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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.
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This was a very interesting story that brought to my mind some questions. Did Middlestein , an associate of Adolf Eichman, successfully avoid the Neuremberg trials and keep up the facade by keeping on the surface a friendship with an Israeli German Jew unwitting to the role that Middlestein had in the war? Were there not any Germans during the war that were willing to oppose Hitlers final solution even Germans who had close relationships with Jewish friends and neighbors and shared the same meals? Today Germany the country and Israel are allies , and Germany has made a true effort at reconciliation and that has to be commended. Yet, for a true reconciliation between Jews and Germans to happen, the past can't be swept under the carpet because that will mean the Germans did not really learn the lessons of their past even though they might be atoning for them in a collective way. As my father was a holocaust survivor from Germany who came to the USA , he never held a true malice to the German people even though his immediate family were sacrificed. He still enjoyed German food , language , and culture as did many of my German family relatives who survived, so I can totally understand the needs of the German Israeli grandfather and grandmother to travel to Germany, a country they loved but was betrayed them. In my book " Leaving Home, Going Home,Returning Home: A Hebrew American's Sojourn in the land of Israel" I myself also talk about my own visits to Germany and my encounters with young German's who to my surprise treated me very very well. I also saw this in the heart felt greetings the Israeli family had by the German families in the movie.Read more ›
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