25 user 129 critic

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens (2014)

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A story that exposes the conspiracy of prominent German institutions and government branches to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II.


Giulio Ricciarelli


Elisabeth Burghardt (screenplay) (as Elisabeth Bartel), Giulio Ricciarelli (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
6 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexander Fehling ... Johann Radmann
André Szymanski André Szymanski ... Thomas Gnielka
Friederike Becht Friederike Becht ... Marlene Wondrak
Johannes Krisch ... Simon Kirsch
Johann von Bülow ... Staatsanwalt Haller
Robert Hunger-Bühler ... Oberstaatsanwalt Friedberg
Hansi Jochmann ... Schmittchen
Lukas Miko Lukas Miko ... Hermann Langbein
Gert Voss ... Generalstaatsanwalt Fritz Bauer
Tim Williams ... Major Parker
Mathis Reinhardt Mathis Reinhardt ... BKA Mann Fischer
Hartmut Volle Hartmut Volle ... Lehrer Alois Schulz
Werner Wölbern Werner Wölbern ... Hans Lichter
Timo Dierkes Timo Dierkes ... Peter Mertens
Michael Schernthaner Michael Schernthaner ... Alter BKA Mann


The year is 1958. The war has been over for thirteen years and the Federal Republic of Germany is not only recovering but even booming. But where are the Nazis? Who has ever heard of the death camps? It looks as if everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds in this land of milk and honey - At least, until the day journalist Thomas Gnielka reports on the recognition by a German-Jewish artist of a local schoolteacher, a former guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp - At least, until Johann Radmann, a young prosecutor, decides to investigate the case - Nobody knows it yet but this is the dawn of a new era. Even if the road to awareness will be long and rocky. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the true events of the investigation that led to the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. See more »


Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Japan] | See more »




German | English

Release Date:

6 November 2014 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

La conspiración del silencio See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,101, 4 October 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$794,123, 28 February 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Germany for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 88th Academy Awards in 2016. See more »


In the second half of the movie, the English subtitles are seriously out of synch with the German dialogue, making it very difficult to follow lengthy conversations. See more »


Johann Radmann: ...the only response to Auschwitz is to do the right thing yourself.
See more »


Twiedlie Die
(aka "Tweedlee Dee")
Written by Winfield Scott
Performed by Alice Babs
See more »

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User Reviews

An illuminating piece of the historical puzzle and part of a nation's prolonged self-atonement.
13 April 2016 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

Holocaust stories from Schindler's List (1993) to Son of Saul (2015) penetrate our emotional defences by dragging us right into the horror zone. In Labyrinth of Lies (2014) we are spared this entirely because the horror is of a different kind. The focus is on a nation in denial, desperate to block the collective memories of the generation responsible and prevent the following one from ever knowing. The historical timeframe depicted is critical to grasping the power of this story. Set in 1958 Germany, thirteen years after the war, the economy is booming but the nation's older generation struggle with guilt and anger while the young have not even heard of Auschwitz. Produced in Germany, this film is an illuminating piece of the historical puzzle and part of a nation's prolonged self-atonement.

The storyline is linear and uncomplicated. A journalist recognises a former Nazi commander of Auschwitz now working as a schoolteacher, but he cannot elicit any interest from public prosecutors. He befriends young lawyer Johann Radmann who processes parking fines but is desperate to take on serious cases. Despite ridicule from colleagues he is made lead investigator and gradually learns about the secret killing factories of Auschwitz. The labyrinth he encounters is one of silence and lies, as large numbers of public servants and others in positions of power were former members of the Nazi Party and many were morally complicit in Hitler's Final Solution. Along the way, he becomes the obsessive hunter as the investigation keeps getting bigger until it is all- consuming. A romantic sub-story is awkwardly woven into the plot both to humanise Radmann and show the destructive impact that the investigation has on his life. The filming and sets convey the period with authenticity, and the directing is tight although the script is heavy. It takes almost the entire film to expose the full-scale truth, and the results of the investigations are dealt with swiftly as a cinematic necessity.

No doubt some people watch Holocaust films for entertainment, but many more do so searching for understanding of this extraordinary period of history. Labyrinth of Lies is important because it fills the gap between war's end in 1945 and the world's slow awakening to what happened at Auschwitz. In particular, it explains how the truth was kept from young Germans oblivious to what their parents did in the war and shows powerful hands on the blanket of silence. Like Spotlight (2015), the story starts by looking at the tip of an iceberg that grew until it overwhelmed a nation and it maintains an engaging thriller quality to the end.

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