The Devil's Arithmetic (1999 TV Movie)
Hannah Stern: What I still don't understand is how so many people could be punished, men, women, and babies who didn't even have a chance to think about God.
Aunt Eva: Once I would have said you have to ask the Nazis. But now I know better, and I say you have to ask God. There is no one else. Do you know how to talk to God?
Hannah Stern: So quietly that only God can hear me.
Hannah Stern: [the Nazis approach the wedding ceremony] What year is it?
Hannah Stern: 5000? That's impossible, this isn't the future.
Rivkah: Ah, you mean the Christian calendar. 1941, October 1941.
Hannah Stern: They're Nazis! No! They will kill... it's 6 million Jews. Don't ask me how I know, I just do.
Dustin Hoffman: One of the most rewarding things about being a parent is the cycle of education: you teach your children, and just as often, they teach you. Hello, I'm Dustin Hoffman, and along with Mimi Rogers, as producers and parents, we are proud to be involved in this special Showtime presentation of 'The Devil's Arithmetic'. It's a provocative film about how a teenage girl relives her family's Holocaust experience in a dramatically vivid and sometimes frightening way. When I first brought the script home, I learned from my 10-year-old daughter it was based on a popular children's book that she'd been reading at school. This story has touched the lives of young readers by making history come alive, combining harsh realities with the magical elements of fable, and as in the book there are scenes in the film that are disturbing; but they don't begin to show the full extent of the horror that took place during the Holocaust. Violence is often used as a way to entertain our children as fantasy without consequence, but the brutality and the inhumanity of the Holocaust were real, not fantasy, and they affect us today and they will affect us tomorrow as well. Indifference to hatred and prejudice take root and grow in impressionable minds and only the light of history can turn the horror of this 20th century into a profound lesson for our children. We must teach them to remember. I now invite you to share with me a young woman's extraordinary journey of discovery where friendship, love and courage are the rewards of caring for others where each day the faces of evil determine who will live, and who will die. The Devil's Arithmetic.
Rabbi: It was in the book. The arithmetic, the numbers. You add, you subtract, and there are no more Jews.
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.
Leah: If you do not let me go with my child, I will kill you. I swear, I will kill you! And neither God nor the devil will stop me.
Commandant Krieger: If that is your wish, I never say no to a lady.
Rivkah: They're burning our synagogue!
Hannah Stern: I know! I know! Rivkah, what's worse? Knowing, or not knowing?
Rivkah: I don't know.
Mina: Hannah, hold her leg tighter!
Hannah Stern: I'm trying!
Mina: Don't try, DO it! You're not a little girl anymore.
Commandant Krieger: You know why we don't allow babies: they can't work!
Hannah Stern: I was thinking about how much help I could be to all of us.
Rivkah: What do you mean?
Hannah Stern: I had a history teacher who spent a whole semester talking about the Jews during the war, you know what I was doing? I was writing notes to my friends. I have no idea what my teacher said. The only thing I remember is that no one paid any attention to all of this.
Rivkah: You have a very vivid imagination, and it is causing you much needless pain.
Hannah Stern: I wish that was true.