Witnesses about to testify at the Nuremberg War Trials needed a safe place to wait. All under one roof, each with their own secrets. And the countess assigned to take care of them. What was her secret?
It's in German. It has "good" Nazis. It even says some nice things about Hitler. And it's a powerful film. Immensely powerful, complex and probing. It's great theatre but theatre on film rather than stage. As the Nuremberg trials got underway in 1945, the US occupation forces set up a residence (Das Zeugenhaus) for people who would be witnesses for both the defence and the prosecution. Some backed the Nazis. Some didn't. Some pretended they didn't. The whole thing was supervised by a Hungarian countess who was chosen for her discretion in a powder keg situation. The characters are complex, conflicted and deeply drawn. Nobody really is who they seem. The existence of the residence (and the countess) is historical fact. The story that unfolds within is fiction but so superbly done that it might have happened just as portrayed.. It's also to the credit of the German film makers that they approach the delicate subject of the Nazi era truthfully rather than with the sort of knee-jerk clichés all too common in movies about this ugly chapter of German history. This is a thoughtful, intense film, beautifully done in every way!.