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Ryszard Ronczewski, Alexander Fehling (photo © Gerald von Foris)

Auschwitz wasn't what Sven, a young German, had in mind when he signed up to do his civil service abroad. For him, Auschwitz is a small town in Poland, a strange language, a concentration camp, all the musty grayness of high-school German history classes. To make matters worse, he's got to care for an unpleasant old man, Stanisław Krzemiński, a former inmate who never left the camp and now spends his time either giving contemporary-witness lectures or repairing suitcases. Krzemiński's world revolves around the suitcases taken from the Jews as they arrived at the concentration camp from all over Europe. Besides having to endure Krzemiński's haughty, gruff manner, Sven also has to put up with the barely concealed contempt of various locals. Luckily, there's Ania, a young guide who lets Sven stay at her place... As the weeks go by, Sven begins to discover both Auschwitz and Oświęcim, the place of horror and the Polish town, the memorial to inhumanity and the tourist industry that has sprung up around it. Yet within this push and pull of conflicting sensations grow love for Ania, compassion for Krzemiński, and the troubling, challenging realization about his own role in preserving the memory of this place...
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Robert Thalheim
Screenplay Robert Thalheim
Cinematography Yoliswa Gaertig
Stefan Kobe
Anton Feist, Uwe Bossenz
Michal Galinski, Rita-Maria Hallekamp
Cast Roman Gancarczyk, Piotr Rogucki, Lena Stolze, Lutz Blochberger, Willy Rachow, Halina Kwiatkowska, Joachim Laetsch, Barbara Wysocka, Ryszard Ronczewski, Alexander Fehling, Adam Nawojczyk, Rainer Sellien
Producers Britta Knöller, Hans-Christian Schmid
Production Company 23/5 Filmproduktion/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel, in cooperation with Pictorion Pictures/Huerth
Runtime 85 min
Format 35 mm, color
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Cannes 2007 (Un Certain Regard), Karlovy Vary 2007, Toronto 2007, Warsaw 2007 (In Competition), Sevilla 2007, Thessaloniki 2007, Berlin & Beyond San Francisco 2007, Palm Springs 2008, Berlin 2008 (German Cinema), Miami 2008, Shanghai 2008, Havana 2008, Sao Paulo 2019
Awards VGF Producers' Award 2007
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, BKM
German Distributor X Verleih

World Sales
Bavaria Media International

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