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Synopsis for
Black Book (2006) More at IMDbPro »Zwartboek (original title)

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At the Kibbutz Stein in Israel in 1956, school teacher Rachel (Clarice van Houten) is reunited with Ronnie (Halina Reijn), a friend from The Hague during World War II. After Ronnie leaves, Rachel reflects on her adventures during the final days of the war.

In 1944, Rachel hides from the Nazis in a farm in the Dutch countryside. In exchange for hiding her, they expect her to learn Bible verses. One day, a crippled Allied bomber drops its payload on the farmhouse, killing everyone except Rachel. Rob (Michiel Heisman), a young man from a neighboring farm, hides her in the family's greenhouse. That night, Van Gein (Peter Blok), a police officer, arrives to tell them that the Nazis know that Rachel is in the area and will hunt her down. He agrees to help Rachel and Rob escape to the Allied controlled southern part of Holland. Rachel visits her father's lawyer, Smaal (Dolf de Vries). He gives her enough money and jewels to live on for a year but warns her not to trust people so easily. Van Gein leads Rachel and Rob to a dock where other Jews wait to leave. Rachel is reunited with her parents and brother, who is recovering from an emergency appendectomy. Van Gein does not accompany the Jews on the boat trip. That evening, the boat is ambushed by a Nazi patrol boat. The Nazis immediately open fire; only Rachel survives the massacre. Before drifting down the river, she sees the Nazis loot the corpses.

Rachel is found by Resistance fighters who smuggle her into The Hague by disguising her as a typhoid victim and placing her in a coffin that if properly "sealed" has sizable air holes. She is taken to a soup kitchen run by another member of the Resistance, Gerben Kuipers (Derek de Lint) and given the new name of Ellis de Vries. Eventually she is made a part of the Resistance's plans to smuggle in British guns and rations. The smugglers are led by Hans Akkermans (Thom Hoffman), an expert marksman. He and Ellis are to pose as husband and wife so the Nazis will not search their luggage on the train; the luggage is actually full of weaponry. But when the Nazi soldiers on the train clearly do intend to search all baggage, a new plan is needed. Ellis takes the bags and enters a private compartment occupied by SD Colonel Mntze (Sebastian Koch). The Nazis don't search Mntze's compartment. Ellis and Mntze are clearly attracted to each other and she accepts an offer to visit him at his office. Hans is clearly jealous.

A truck carrying the British guns crashes in front of the soup kitchen. Kuiper's son, Tim (Ronald Armbrust) was driving and is arrested by the Gestapo. While the others go into hiding, Ellis arranges a meeting with Mntze hoping that she can persuade him to release Tim. Knowing he is an avid stamp collector, she takes some rare Dutch stamps to him. He invites her to a Nazi party. There she sees SS commandant Gnter Franken (Waldemar Kobus) and recognizes him as the Nazi who led the ambush against the refugee boat. Although she is sickened at his sight, she manages to sing at the party later. She and Mntze return to his suite to make love. He intuits that she is Jewish from her dyed blond hair but has fallen in love with her. She accepts a job in his office and begins work the following day. There she meets Ronnie, who is Franken's secretary/sex partner. Franken gives them a report indicating that Tim has confessed everything and is to be executed, however, Mntze refuses to sign the execution order.

Ellis sees Smaal at Nazi headquarters and learns that he and Mntze have negotiated a cease fire -- if the Resistance ceases its attacks against the Nazis, the Nazis will cease its violent reprisals against Dutch civilians. However, when a hidden microphone placed by Ellis in Franken's office reveals that Franken and Van Gein have been working together to kill and rob Jews trying to escape into Allied territory, a controversy amongst the Resistance fighters ensues. Van Gein is heard asking where Franken gets his information as to where the Jews are hiding, which Franken refuses to answer. Ellis wants vengeance for her family but Kuipers refuses to risk breaking the truce because his son will be killed. He betrays a level of anti-semitism when he asks if Jewish lives are any more important than Dutch lives. Behind Kuipers' back, Hans and several others agree to kidnap Van Gein and make it look like he went underground to protect himself. Hans tries to drug Van Gein with chloroform but it doesn't work because the medicine has passed its expiration date. When Van Gein nearly escapes, they are forced to kill him and dump his body in the canal. That night, Mntze confronts Ellis about her participation in the Resistance.

Smaal procures the building plans for the Nazi headquarters from a friend at city hall; the building used to be a bank. A plan is devised to sneak into the building during a party in honor of Hitler's birthday. Using information given to him by Ellis, Mntze accuses Franken of hoarding property and valuables confiscated from Jews, a capital offense. When a search of Franken's safe comes up empty, Franken accuses Mntze of negotiating with terrorists -- the Resistance. Mntze is sentenced to death, and Franken announces that forty hostages will be executed in retaliation for the murder of Van Gein. The rescue effort will now be more complex, and Ellis insists that Mntze be one of those liberated because she is in love with him. That night, she leaves a coal chute door open for Hans and the others to enter, then goes to sing at the party. The Resistance members enter the building and free many of the prisoners. However, they are then ambushed by Nazi soldiers. Only Hans and one other Resistance member survive. Franken takes Ellis to his office and uses the hidden microphone, which he knows about, to make it seem like Ellis has been collaborating with him against the Resistance. Kuipers vows to kill her. But Franken already intends to, along with Mntze. That night, Ronnie uses her body as a diversion while another sympathetic soldier frees Ellis and Mntze from their cells.

A few days later, the Germans surrender and World War II (in Europe) ends. Ellis and Mntze make their way back to The Hague. They go to see Smaal, who they believe to be the one who had betrayed the Resistance fighters and Jews to Franken. He denies it and claims to have proof of the real culprit which he intends to take to the Canadian military government controlling the city. However, before he can do so, an unknown assailant kills Smaal and his wife. Resistance fighters trap Mntze and Ellis, although she takes Smaal's notebook. Franken attempts to escape by boat with the loot taken from the Jews but Hans kills him.

Muntze, in the custody of the Canadian army, is sentenced to death by his former commanding officer, General Kutner, who argues to his Canadian counterpart that Nazi officers still have the authority to punish their own officers for misconduct. Mntze is executed for his contact with Communists in the Resistance. Ellis is kept in a pen with other Dutch accused of collaborating with the Nazis. She and her fellow prisoners are treated deplorably by other local residents, an incident that is broken up by Hans, who berates his countrymen for acting like their Nazi occupiers during the war. Hans, who is now considered a hero of the Resistance, finds Ellis and takes her to his office. On the way, they distribute some chocolate bars to children. In his office, he shows her the money and valuables he took from Franken and reveals that Mntze was executed. Ellis breaks down in tears. Hans tells her that he is giving her a sedative but actually injects her with a lethal amount of insulin. He was the traitor in the Resistance and feels he must kill Ellis to cover his tracks. But when he goes to his window to accept the cheers of an adoring crowd, Ellis wolfs down a chocolate bar to counteract the insulin and escapes with Smaal's black book.

She takes the evidence to Kuipers, who is at a nearby mass grave where the body of his son has been uncovered. They leave to find Hans, who is trying to escape the city with the Jewish money and valuables. They find him on a country road, using the same method that was used to smuggle Rachel into the Resistance -- the coffin with the hidden vent. Although he offers to give some of the money to them, Kuipers and Ellis seal off his air supply and let him suffocate to death. On the banks of the river, they debate what to do with the money.

In 1956, at the Kibbutz Stein, which was founded with the Jewish money, Rachel and her family disappear behind the fences as armed Israeli soldiers arrive to guard it from an unseen enemy, marking the beginning of the Suez Crisis.

In this movie appears Christian Berkel who will later play the role of Fritz Shimon Haber in Haber.


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