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The Devil's Arithmetic (1999)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, War | TV Movie 28 March 1999
A 16-year-old American girl with an apathetic view towards her Jewish family history finds herself pulled through time into 1941 to a small Polish village where the Nazi have just began their genocidal propaganda.



(novel), (teleplay)
4,350 ( 73)

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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonore Stern
Aunt Eva
Lilo Baur ...
Nitzan Sharron ...
Kirsty McFarland ...
Rachel Roddy ...
Ieva Jackeviciute ...
Philip Rham ...
Commandant Krieger
Daniel Rausch ...
Officer Steinbach
Polina Soloveicik ...
Sarah (as Paulina Soloveicik)


This is another telling of the holocaust, but this time from the perspective of a modern teenage girl who only grudgingly accepts the Jewish traditions, but when she is asked to "open the front door" as part of the Seder feast finds herself, not unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, to have entered the 1940's and has stepped into the life of a prisoner in one of the German death camps where she experiences all of its horrors firsthand. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Live to tell


Drama | Fantasy | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La aritmética del diablo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A scene from this movie appears in Wag the Dog (1997) as the faked footage of an orphan in Albania. See more »


Hannah Stern: Do you know what a stupid girl I used to be? I almost got one of these put on!
[shows the number tattooed on her arm]
Hannah Stern: Can you believe that? I wanted to get tattooed!
Rivkah: Don't talk foolishness!
Hannah Stern: It is foolishness, isn't it? My whole life has been foolishness. I'm being punished, that's it, God is punishing me.
Rivkah: I forbid you to say that. Is God punishing me? Is He punishing the children? I won't believe that.
Hannah Stern: Then why? Why?
Rivkah: Ask them why. Ask the Nazis, not me, don't ask me.
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

A true Experience
7 April 2001 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

I have yet to read the book, but I can say that this movie is wonderful. This modern day teenager is taken back into the past to the time of the Holocaust, taken to a Nazi death camp, and experiences what really happened. I dont think many of us truly realized what it meant to be a Jew back then. Jews were treated as 'pets' in those camps, being branded, 'owned', and forced to work, which basically makes them slaves. I knew about the Holocaust before this movie, and I knew it was so terrible, but the reality of it never really hit me until this movie. But now I think I understand so much more. And I'm only 13. It shows the Jews when they first get to the camp, when they are forced to take off their clothes, put on other clothes which include a special coat with the Star or David on it, have their hair cut off, and get branded with a number on their arm for identification. And then we see how they lived, what they feared, and worst of all, how they died. I'd have to say the ending is what really hit me the most. I wont tell you what happened at the ending, but I will say, if you watch this movie with all your concentration and heart, you will feel a feeling you've probably never experienced, because you've probably never felt the real pain of torture and horror. And that it what this movie expresses.

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