In a recent Research Forum, director, Arnon Goldfinger, shared about his 2011 documentary called The Flat. After his mother passed, Goldfinger and his siblings were charged with cleaning out her flat, where his grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, also lived. They immigrated to Palestine in the 1930’s, fleeing from Nazi Germany. The film started as a sort of familial archive, but developed into a much larger story.
Goldfinger realized that the story unfolding was too significant to keep it for just the family archives. He said, looking through the lens of the camera he could seen the flat with new clarity and renewed focus. He decided to produce the film as a documentary, and see where it would take him. Without knowing where the content of the flat would lead him he focused on the question: What can you find out about people from the things they left behind?
Through a series of letters and photos, Goldfinger discovered a surprising relationship between his grandparents and Leopold von Mildenstein and his wife. Leopold von Mildenstein was the director of the Office for Jewish Affairs in Nazi Germany, he was succeeded by Adolf Eichmann. In the 1930’s, Mildenstein travelled to Palestine to assess viability in the country for hosting more Jews, he was accompanied by Goldfinger’s grandparents. Memorabilia, including photos, made Goldfinger confront this silenced family memory.
After the war, the Tuchler’s and Mildenstein’s continued their relationship, the Tuchler’s visited the Mildenstein’s in Germany often. In the film, Goldfinger follows his grandparent’s footsteps and visits with Mildenstein’s children. He goes on a journey examining the Holocaust and WWII memory through Israeli and German perspective as the descendents of these unlikely friends discuss their own experience and relationships with their respective families.
The film has won several awards including: Jerusalem Film Festival Award for Best Director of a Documentary, Bavarian Film Away for Best Documentary, and Tribeca Films Festival 2012 for Best Editing Documentary, among many others.
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