What You Need To Know:
ROSENSTRASSE should make most audiences weep. Although it is in German and subtitled, it is very compelling. It shows complex character relations, that there were a few good Germans, and even a few bad Jews. Most people were caught in the middle, but the National Socialists were clearly the villains. It is a portrait of a society gone insane. Every aspect is carefully directed and produced, though the acting, especially, is superb. Spoiled only by one profanity and one obscenity, this movie is not as grand as SCHINDLER’S LIST but is certainly one of the best Holocaust movies.
(BBB, C, L, VV, A, D, M) Very strong moral worldview with positive Christian redemptive activities wherein a German woman protects a Jewish girl, although the major religious discussion revolves around Judaism; one profanity and one obscenity; Nazi violence against Jews, threats of machine gunning, pushing, shoving, and three suicides; kissing and hugging; no nudity; smoking; drinking; and, generational differences, lying to try to save a person, potential pandering to try to save a person, and hiding identity.
ROSENSTRASSE is an award winning movie that gives another perspective on the horror of the National Socialist persecution of Jews. The story opens in New York with a family that speaks German. The father has just died and the mother Ruth suddenly reclaims her Judaism in mourning for him. This means that a candle must be lit at all times; windows, TVs and mirrors must be covered; and, seven days of extreme mourning must be observed, followed by another almost as extreme three weeks of mourning.
The grown children do not understand it. They say the father was not an observant Jew, and the mother has never been an observant Jew. The son, Ben, says he has to go to work and has to shave. The bigger problem is that the daughter, Hannah, is engaged to a gentile, Luis, from Central America. The mother wants Luis to leave for good.
Everything seems to be falling apart until Hannah meets an estranged cousin who says that a gentile woman in Germany saved her mother’s life when her mother was only eight years old. Hannah travels to Germany to find this woman, Mrs. Lena Fischer. Lena was from a wealthy family, the von Eschenbachs. She married a Jew, Fabian Israel Fischer, and they were both concert musicians of some renown. Fabian was taken into custody, she says. In a flashback, she spends considerable time trying to rescue him. She even enlists her brother, who comes back from the Russian front as a war hero without a leg. Lena almost does the unthinkable, accepting an indecent proposal from an important National Socialist bureaucrat to free her husband.
During her attempts to free her husband, she meets little eight-year-old Ruth, whose mother is also locked up in Rosenstrasse. She befriends Ruth and gives here a new home. Young Ruth misinterprets when Lena feels that she must send her to the United States to live with her closest relatives after three years of giving Ruth a home. Hannah finds Mrs. Fischer and learns the whole story.
ROSENSTRASSE should make most audiences weep. Full of suspense, moral questions and Nazi terror, the story is heartrending. Although it is in German and subtitled, it is very compelling. It shows complex character relations, such as the fact that there were a few good Germans, and even a few bad Jews. Most people were caught in the middle, but the National Socialists are clearly the real villains. This is a portrait of a socialist humanist society gone insane.
ROSENSTRASSE is a low budget movie so there are no big battle sequences, but the authenticity is fully established. In fact, every aspect of the movie is carefully directed and produced. The best part, however, is the acting of the young and the old Mrs. Fischer. Both actresses are superb.
This is a morality tale for any time. It is spoiled only by one profanity and one obscenity. It is not for little children because there are suicides in it by some Jewish women who could not take the incarceration. Although ROSENSTRASSE is not as grand as SCHINDLER’S LIST, it is certainly one of the best Holocaust movies ever made.