Acclaimed Holocaust Tale
Release Date: February 22, 2008
Starring: Karl Markovics, August Diehl,
David Striesow, and August
Genre: Historical Drama
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 98 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Joseph Aichholzer, Nina
Bohlmann and Babette Schröder
Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
The movie opens in a flashback with a Jewish counterfeiter from Russia, Salomon, being arrested and imprisoned in 1936. After five years, the policeman who arrested Salomon, Inspector Herzog (now an SS man), brings him to a concentration camp. There, Hitler’s National Socialist thugs are forcing Jews to counterfeit English money, in hopes of eventually counterfeiting American currency.
Herzog believes in giving the Jewish counterfeiters incentives and privileges in return for their good work. Of course, if the Jews fail, or if they sabotage the work, they will be executed on the spot or sent to the gas chambers.
At first, Salomon, who is trying to get medicine for a younger prisoner infected with tuberculosis, accepts this Faustian bargain from Herzog. An expert counterfeiter, he helps the Germans counterfeit millions of English pound notes. This irks Burger, a fellow prisoner who is a Communist. Burger keeps sabotaging the work to counterfeit the American dollar, but this causes tension with the other prisoners. Salomon keeps covering for Burger because he doesn’t want to squeal on a fellow Jew, especially when the result for squealing would be Burger’s certain death. Eventually, however, things come to a head as tensions mount.
Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Movie Oscar®, THE COUNTERFEITERS is an engrossing drama about a little known story in the Holocaust during World War II. The filmmakers deftly handle the moral dilemma faced by these Jewish prisoners. The only flaws are some strong foul language, snatches of very strong violence, and the fact that the movie’s positive moral points are made by an atheist Communist instead of a religious Jew. In fact, the movie is based on a book by the real-life Adolf Burger, THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP (the filmmakers change the last name of Salomon, whose real last name was Smolianoff). Thus, the movie’s morality is not determined by religious, God-centered or biblical notions, but by the group-think of secular ideology. Of course, without a moral theology based on God and His divine character, all things are permitted, morally speaking, and truth becomes relative.
THE COUNTERFEITERS is an engrossing drama about a little known story in the Holocaust during World War II. The filmmakers deftly handle the moral dilemma faced by these prisoners. The only flaws are some strong foul language, snatches of very strong violence, and the fact that the movie’s positive moral points are made by an atheist Communist instead of a religious Jew. Thus, the movie’s moral worldview is not based on religious, God-centered or biblical notions.