BYE BYE GERMANY
Director: Sam Garbarski
At the end of the Third Reich, most surviving Jews from the Holocaust left Germany as fast as possible. But former Sachsenhausen inmate David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu), among about 4,000 other real-life survivors who remained, sees his blasted homeland as the land of opportunity. He dreams of reopening his family’s seized linen business in Frankfurt, but American forces deny him a license; with his haughty demeanor, David is suspected of being a Nazi collaborator by occupation forces and is subject to questioning by Special Agent Sara Simon (Antje Traue). Undaunted, he gathers a group of Jewish salesmen to help him peddle imported linens door-to-door, stressing that they are to be legitimate businessmen, not victims.
Director Sam Garbarski maintains the upbeat tone for most of the film, wringing sly humor from the absurdities faced by the salesmen, but memories of the horrors they each faced lie just under the surface; David’s flashbacks reveal his survivor’s guilt as his smooth-talking of the guards helped save him while the rest of his family perished. Garbarski’s adaptation of German-Swiss novelist Michel Bergmann’s “Teilacher” trilogy is a tale of re-assimilation and rebirth, and of how maintaining a sense of humor is a vital step towards redemption.
return to Asheville Jewish Film Festival home page