When Arnon Goldfinger's grandmother dies in Tel Aviv, his whole family come around for the necessary disposition of her property. While dealing with all the stuff, Arnon makes a shocking discovery: evidence that his German Jewish grandparents had a long-lasting friendship with the senior Nazi SS officer, Leopold von Mildenstein, before and after World War II. His repulsion and confusion at how his beloved grandparents could have done that sends Arnon on an international search for the truth. In doing so, Arnon learns about a complex relationship, in which family, sentiment, history and human nature combine to produce a kind of denial in reaction to the worst of reality.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When my grandmother died, I realized that my family lives only in the present, so I take home anything that smells 100 years old or older. For the first time in my life, I have a past.
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Arnon Goldfinger always felt that when he went to visit his grandmother in her flat in Tel Aviv that he was going to Berlin. She had emigrated with her husband to Palestine in the 1930s. Gerda Tuchler lived a long, rich life dying at 98. Death lives a void, and it's to the living to go through a flat cluttered with things that Oma Gerda collected through a long life time. And in sifting through Gerda's papers he comes across copies of the Nazi 'Der Angriff' (Attack), featuring articles by Baron Heinrich Mildstein untitled 'A Nazi travels to Palestine'. And accompanying him were the Tuchlers. This shock sent on a long journey to lift up the veil of his grandparents hidden life. For Mildstein, it turns out, was the man who hired Eichmann, and later served in a high post in Josef Goebbels' interior ministry. And more shocking still is that even after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Tuchlers renewed a friendship with the Mildsteins with whom they had exchanged letter until 1939 and then after the war. Not only that, they traveled to Europe, to visit them and even went on holidays in their company. And it is this mystery that Goldfinger tries to understand. His mother Hannah who was born in Germany, had forgotten the Mildsteinsl even though Gerda had kept photos of her youngest and only daughter with them. Arnon's mother turned her eyes on a new life in a new homeland, and she, too, never asked questions of her her mother life in Germany. And although 'The Flat' offers answer, and is a engrossing film, Goldfinger never really pierces the psyche of his grandparents attachment to Germany and to the Mildsteins. 'The Flat' is not an easy film, and it might make Jews in the Diaspora shrug shoulders and look down their noses at the 'Yeckers', the not so Yiddish term for German Jews whom they thought looked at the world from a superior regard.
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