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12 May 1999 | J. Steed
Simple, quiet and remarkable film about the execution of a gypsy boy by a SS Hauptsturmführer on march 31st 1945. With the dialogue based on original documents and other sources Fruchtmann shows all those involved in a series of staged interviews; the interviews are sporadically interrupted by narrative scenes. By way of inter cutting the different interviews and using a cast that impressively tells the main story and the stories of the individuals, it is a very rewarding experience. The narrative scenes regarded in relation to the interviews are a bit too much and a break of style: the interviews give the viewer enough information to visualize the main story.

It is meant as a memorial for all Roma and Sinti executed under the Nazi regime, and as such it can be regarded. But I have a problem with that: 1) the circumstances of this execution are too specific; 2) in general I consider it naive that it is expected to comprehend the execution/extermination of a mass of people. It seems to me more important to understand why it happened than what has happened.

The question of why thìs execution took place, is taken care of as well, and that makes the film thought-inspiring. You have to listen carefully to the interviews to have an understanding of how it is to be part of an environment that is both bureaucratic and in which authority is the ideology. A number of times it is pointed out that everyone was expected to be a part of the group (ideological comradeship) and that is was hard if not impossible, to take a stand that would have excluded someone from the group. As such the protagonists of this drama are not important, but a system (and that could have been any system, including democracy) that made them act the way they did.

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Release Date:

5 May 1999



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