During WWII SS officer Kurt Gerstein tries to inform Pope Pius XII about Jews being sent to extermination camps. Young Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana helps him in the difficult mission to inform the world.
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In World War II, the sanitation engineer and family man Kurt Gerstein is assigned by SS to be the Head of the Institute for Hygiene to purify the water for the German Army in the front. Later, he is invited to participate in termination of plagues in the concentration camps and he develops the lethal gas Zyklon-B. When he witnesses that the SS is killing Jews instead, he decides to denounce the genocide to the Pope to expose to the world and save the Jewish families. The idealist Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana from an influent Italian family gives his best efforts being the liaison of Gerstein and the leaders of the Vatican. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Gerstein witnesses truckloads of corpses being dumped into a mass grave and his driver remarks, "The crematoriums are overworked," this is in no way an exaggeration. There were actually efforts underway to solve this 'problem.' E.g. the 1942 patent-application T 58240 KI. states, "There exists the necessity to remove the constantly accumulating large number of corpses quickly, safely and hygienically." It proposes about 18 m high *continuously working* furnaces, in which "the corpses to be incinerated while fed into the furnace are constantly exposed to the flames and the gases from combustion which rise in opposite direction of their movement. Multi-part fire-clay sliding doors allow ... jamming of objects to be burned to be alleviated from outside ... Most ashes collect ... in the ash-collection-container, where they are constantly subject to the flue gas, so that possible not completely burnt residues can still post-burn and burn out in this ash-compartment." The capacity of one single unit of these incinerators was estimated at 1200 to 4800 corpses per day, or (conservatively assuming 300 days of operation per year) to 360,000 to 1.4 million per year. See more »
After 10.10 in the film, the car passing is an IFA F9, which was produced in Germany from 1949 to April 1956. See more »
[interrupting a session of the Assembly of the League of Nations, Geneve, 1936]
My name is Stephan Lux. I am Jewish. The Jews are being persecuted in Germany and the world doesn't care.
[He draws a pistol]
I see no other way to reach people's hearts.
[He shoots himself]
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I was very surprised by reading so many bad comments about 'Amen.'. This is a breathtaking movie about a German officer who realises what they are actually doing to the Jews and who afterwards tries everything to prevent this murdering. Ulrich Tukur gives one hell of a performance. You really see this man suffering under the killings he cannot prevent.
Another perfect performance is given by the priest who tries to help the German officer. Mathieu Kassovitz (who also played the male leading role in 'Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain')is very convincing in his role.
I think this movie is highly underrated. Costa-Gavras has made an important movie with 'Amen.' which looks at the holocaust-tragedy from another point of view which is seldom showed. The movie gives a true although unbelievable answer at one of the most important questions concerning the holocaust: didn't anyone saw this coming? Couldn't anyone prevent this from happening?
If you really want to know the answers to this questions, you certainly have to watch 'Amen.'. This movie should at least have an 8 and I'll give you two reasons why: one because the story is unique and magnificently told; and two because the two leading actors are giving the performance of a lifetime. Highly recommendable!
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