The Flat (2011) Script

>> Arnon Goldfinger: This is my grandmother, Gerda.

A month ago, she died.

Since then, no one has been here.

Everything remains as it was.

Now we have a difficult task:

To decide what stays and what goes.

>> Woman speaking Hebrew:

>> All speaking Hebrew:


>> Arnon: When I was a kid, I liked to come here.

Once a week, I'd cross the streets of Tel Aviv, climb up the stairs and find myself in Berlin.

My grandmother lived here for 70 years as if she had never left Germany.

Despite her years in the holy land, she never mastered Hebrew and I didn't want to learn German.

So we'd sit and chat in English over apfelstrudel and Swiss chocolate.

When I grew up, I realized that the meaningful things were always left unspoken.


>> The clean-up begins at the rate of 60 garbage bags per day.

>> My mother and cousins storm the flat.


>> Who could believe that we were digging through closets that we'd never dared to open?

Grandmother would turn over in her grave if she knew what we were doing.

>> Mother:


>> Next come the books.

Micha adler, a German-Jewish book lover, will find them a new home.


>> To me, grandfather Kurt was an important man from a distant land.

When he died, I was 15.

Grandmother used to say that I inherited his love of books...

And his glasses.

But what else do I know about the man I resemble?

All in Hebrew:


>> My grandparents had

12 grandchildren.

The oldest one died.

Five live in America.

Four remember nothing.

And one is just too busy.

That leaves me.

And the flat.

Three weeks go by, and no one comes to remove a thing, except mother.

She was born in Berlin, but this is her childhood home.

Now that her parents are gone, it's all hers.

When it comes to the documents, she can't throw anything away, not even old bank statements.

She inspects them line by line, letter by letter and only then can she throw it away.


>> What is Nazi propaganda doing in my grandparents' flat?

The newspapers tell the story of the Nazi who travels to Palestine.

You can see him gazing from the ship at impish little Jews at the shore.

But there are also pictures of Jewish pioneers: Drying the swamps, plowing the land, fulfilling the zionist dream of establishing the Jewish state in Palestine.

It gets really absurd when I discover that the readers also got a special bonus:

A copper medallion.

On one side, the symbol of the Jews; On the other, the symbol of those who wanted to get rid of them.

But what does it have to do with my grandparents?

I heard that up north, there is a German Jew who specializes in German Jews--

Dr. Barkai.

When I called and told him the story, he wasn't surprised.

He, too, had come across

"the Nazi's travelogues".

>> Dr. Barkai:


>> Grandfather was a zionist.

On the other hand, he was a German patriot who was decorated for his service in world war I.

When he returned from Palestine, he found a letter on his desk.

The Nazis had fired him, like all Jewish judges.

Yet, he and grandmother still felt that Germany was their home and even brought a new baby into the world:

Hannahle, my mother.

>> Woman: "The chancellor of the federal Republic of Germany and Mrs. Helmut kohl request the honor of the company of Mrs. Gerda tuchler--"

>> mother speaking Hebrew:


>> One night, in the flat, I found a magazine.

Clearly, it wasn't grandmother's regular reading material.

Looking through it, I landed on a pair of s.S. Boots.

It was an article about the Nazi who traveled to Palestine.

Von Mildenstein, it seems, was not just a journalist, but an s.S. Officer who investigated the Jewish question.

Suddenly, an unexpected name popped up: Grandmother Gerda.

The magazine folded long ago, but I was able to track down elat negev and jehuda koren, the writers of the article.


>> Jehuda:


>> I remember seeing an album full of little pictures like the ones jehuda and elat gave me.

But at the time, it didn't faze me.

In the album, it looks like two couples from Berlin going on vacation to the orient.

With Von mildenstein at the wheel, they hit the dusty roads of Palestine... waving to the locals, photographing Jewish pioneers and holy sites.

But grandmother and the baroness preferred ice-cold lemonade.

>> Hannah:

>> Arnon:


>> I wonder why the past never made it into mother's home.

Here, everything is perfectly new and perfectly in place.

That's how she raised US.

What's important is the here and now.

All she takes from grandmother's flat are pleasant, little mementos.

When my grandmother died, I realized that my family lives only in the present.

So I take home anything that smells a hundred years old or older.

For the first time in my life, I have a past.

But in that past, I keep finding one name over and over again.

>> Newsreel reporter speaking Hebrew:

>> Man speaking Hebrew:

>> Speaking German:

>> Lawyer speaking Hebrew:

>> Speaking German:

>> Lawyer speaking Hebrew:


>> Speaking German:

>> Von mildenstein's idea, as the head of the "department of Jewish affairs", was to get the Jews to leave their homeland of their own volition.

This was realized just partly by my grandparents.

Indeed, they packed up and left Berlin, but after the war they kept on packing and returned to Germany year after year.


>> Arnon:

>> Hannah:


>> Woman on phone: Hallo?

>> Ahh... is it possible to speak in English?

Is it possible?

>> I can, in English, no problem.

>> Um... I'm calling from Tel Aviv, from Israel.

My name is arnon Goldfinger.

>> Yes?

>> And I'm the grandson of Kurt and Gerda tuchler.

>> You aren't.

>> Yeah, I am.

>> Really? >> Yeah!

>> Right! Carry on.

>> Do you know them?

>> Well, I knew...

Mr. Tuchler I knew.

Gerda tuchler...

Because they were friends with my parents.

>> Yes, that's it.

>> Right!

>> Yeah, wow, it's a surprise because...

>> I'm very surprised.

>> Yeah...

You know what happened?

My grandma, Gerda, passed away not long ago... >> Oh.

>> Yeah, she was 98.

>> Yeah, yeah.

>> Fantastic age, absolutely wonderful.

>> Yeah.

>> I hope she had a good life, too. >> Yeah.

>> She was very, very bouncy when she was here and to so proudly telling of her grandchildren and...

>> Yeah, I didn't know...

>> She gave me a very, very sweet necklace with a turquoise stone; I still have it and cherish it very, very much.

Well, I mean, in a way, it's a

, definitely.

>> You know, frankly, i'm surprised, you know, that you answered and that you know them and I'm very surprised, so I even did not, you know...

You know, I have a bunch of questions that I don't even know what to do.

I need to think about it and maybe call you again.

>> ...listen, let's not push it, because, I mean, you have to really sort of work through what you find and make sense out of it somehow...

>> Sure, sure, sure.

...in a sleepy suburb, in a city I never heard of, lives the Nazi baron's daughter.

One day her phone rings and a man with a strange accent is on the line.

She knows who he is immediately.

It's the grandson of her parents' good friends, Kurt and Gerda tuchler.

She's flooded by memories, as if they visited only yesterday.

But today, the grandson visits instead.

>> Woman: Hello!

Take your coat off?

We should have a glass of champagne, really.

Cheers.

>> You know, what really surprised me on the phone when we were speaking that, I mean, about Gerda and Kurt and your parents-- were they really friends?

I mean, uh... after the war?

>> I think they were...

Well before the war, they were obviously very, very close, good friends and they discussed a lot.

I knew them from the talks, at a very early age, I knew the names and I've really got to meet them the first times when they came into this house and that was well after the war and, uh, yeah, they were having good times together.

Talking again from the past, meaning half an hour after I was in, I was sent out, it wasn't my subject to be.

And no, they were really sort of obviously close enough to do this friendship and they seemed to be sending letters at a regular basis, both sides.

>> In German:

...can't read that.

56-26-56.

>> That's from here?

From wuppertal?

>> No, that is from Tel Aviv...

Gordon street.

>> Well, you told me on the phone that you received from Gerda... >> Yeah?

>> A necklace.

>> I now got more stuff to work through than I thought was worth living for.

I'm sure I haven't put it over there somewhere.

Yes, it wasn't hiding away anywhere-- I found it.

>> When did she give it to you?

>> They brought that, I think, to my mind, the first time they came.

And of course, when I saw that picture, playing detective work, I couldn't possibly imagine when that one time, who might've been the girl at the back.

Now, that, to my mind, could've been your mother.

Don't you dare to say no.

>> Um...

>> Because all the others are boys.

>> Yeah.

But this is actually already Gerda's grandchild.

This is my... older brother.

>> O.k. >> This one.

>> One identified. >> Yeah.

>> And that's, quite obviously, a boy.

>> And that's a cousin of mine.

>> That one?

>> Another cousin of mine.

>> O.k.

>> So that must be a picture before I was born.

>> Oh.

>> Yeah.

So, how come you got this picture?

>> I suppose that Gerda tuchler sent it to my mother, straightforward.

Mm-hmm. >> Mm-hmm.

>> Or they had it with them when they came here and they left it with her.

I think you'll just have to go very sort of, like, hands up and accept the fact that they were two lots of people, obviously got on very well.

>> You know, I'm curious to understand them because for me, it was a real surprise that they, I mean, that my grandparents kept in contact after the war with, you know, some Germans at all.

>> Yeah, funny, they did.

>> I try to imagine my grandparents coming here, with flowers and suitcases full of gifts.

I still can't believe that they renewed their friendship with the Von mildensteins as if nothing had ever happened.

...how was, uh, the first time you, you know, coming to her house, meeting her parents?

>> Edda: He survived it.

>> Uh, ja...

Well, that's quite a story and, and...

They didn't want me, really, no, as a son-in-law.

It can't have been my job because I had quite a good managerial position in that company.

I think they would have preferred a diplomat, you know, or whatever, is my impression because...

>> They, they very much moved in diplomatic circles that, uh, my parents-in-law and...

That must've been the reason.

>> Edda: That is the family tree, as you could call it, and it goes, really, as I say, from the year 300-and-something.

Was I right?

Yes, I was right.

372...

Down to-- pull it, down at the bottom-- on the bottom one...

>> Harald: Edda milz...

...Von mildenstein.

>> Arnon: What is the meaning of the "Von"?

Baron or some kind of...?

>> No, that's old German gentry, um, and...

Ja, that may also have been the reason...

Not wanted to accept me as a normal blue-blooded, uh-- red-blooded, not blue-blooded person, you know.

I don't know whether you know this difference.

In Germany we say, "he is blue-blooded," so he is gentry, or she is. >> Um...

>> Harald: Sorry, did you not notice that I always go one step behind my wife?

It's like prince Philip behind the queen, you know, because she is blue-blooded and I'm not.

>> Edda: He said that while I walk around, yeah, yeah.

>> After edda and Harald got married, they moved to the United Kingdom, far away from their parents.

30 years later, they returned to Germany, to the house where edda was raised.

Here edda found letters and photos in a mess she couldn't put in order.

>> Edda: Letters, letters, letters.

>> Like me, she didn't have the courage to throw away her inheritance, so she stuck it in the basement.

I didn't know how to ask her what her father did during the war.

Instead, I requested a picture of him from that period.

>> Look, this is a miracle, that we found it.

Maybe you want the light on.

>> Arnon: What is it?

>> That is the daily mail of December the 10th, 1956.

"Goebbels men help nasser.

Four goebbels-trained Nazis are the brains behind the torrent of lies, abuse and powers endlessly nasser's voice off the arabs' radio station."

Um, "baron Von mildenstein, formerly chief of the near east bureau of goebbels propaganda ministry..."

>> Was he working with goebbels?

>> Sorry?

>> Was your father working with goebbels?

>> We got...

According to this gentleman, yes, but there's absolutely no proof, no nothing.

He never did work with goebbels.

>> Did he sue them?

>> Yes, a solicitor put up the claim to sue them for libel actions, and that, after--

I don't know, it may have taken two months or whatever the legal cases do in these countries-- and they, of course, had to pay damages.

Then they had big headlines-- the other press, not the mail, they had nothing in it-- the telegraph and the times and they had that, the first German journalist who actually fought in British courts and won the libel actions against them.

>> Here.

>> Do I have to read the whole thing? >> Please.

>> Can I copy it for you?

"There was no truth in the article.

So far as the plaintiff was concerned, he was not a Nazi.

The defendant now recognizes the allegations had been unjustified and that they agreed to compensate the plaintiff and to pay his costs of proceeding."

Is that enough?

I should think so.

I suppose that's what always happens with the press when they get a little bit over-excited in the wrong direction.

>> I don't know what to make of edda.

She received me with the warmth and openness of a person who has nothing to hide.

Yet, she presented her father as having no Nazi past.

She even has the press clippings to prove it.

And then she told me another thing and I couldn't believe my ears.

>> I know that there was one problem that Kurt tuchler's mother who lived...

In the northeast side of Berlin?

I don't know anything about her other than she was already then a very old lady and the tuchler couple tried very hard to convince her to leave Germany.

And she was like--

>> arnon: You mean the mother of Gerda?

>> The mother of Kurt.

>> Of Kurt?

>> Yeah.

>> About what time are you talking about?

I can't put a date to that.

I only know that there was a problem in the family, in amongst the tuchlers, saying that mother-- now whose ever it was, whether hers or his, but I should have mentioned that it was his mother-- refused to leave her house, her place, her everything.

"Well, if you would come with US," in brackets was said to her, "then you could take all your possessions with you, now."

And she said, "no, we've always lived here."

And then history went that--

I think they even mentioned it when they were here again-- of course, she was then taken to theresienstadt and was killed there.

Difficult.

>> How do the Von mildensteins know things about my family that no one ever told me?


>> When I return to Israel, I find that strangers have invaded the flat.

My mother called in professionals who promised fast removal for a fair price.


>> I had no idea that my grandparents were carrying in their hearts such a loss.

I realize that the woman edda told me about must have been my grandmother's mother, susanne lehmann.

I go to tamar, a second cousin, who enjoyed visiting grandmother Gerda and writing everything down.


>> The drama that followed susanne's return to Germany unfolds letter after letter.

My grandmother and her mother corresponded continuously, up to the moment susanne was forced to leave her home and was deported to the ghetto.

"My dear children, I received your letter and as always i'm happy to hear from you.

Day by day, my solitude worsens.

There is not much left to do.

But I refuse to lose hope that one day we shall see each other again."


>> In my mother's photo album, I find evidence of susanne lehmann's visit to Tel Aviv.

Three generations of women in one photograph, unaware that this is the last picture they will ever take together.

I scheduled a visit with frau gertrud kino, my grandmother's last living friend.

>> Gertrud speaking Hebrew:


>> Grandmother probably knew that gertrud wouldn't approve of her friendship with the Von mildensteins, just as she couldn't relate to her longing for Germany.

But the pictures keep revealing a friendship that continued after the war.

Here, my grandparents can be seen on vacation with Gerda Von mildenstein.

And here, the baron captured them in front of a waterfall.

I don't understand how they could reunite after what happened to susanne?


>> Before mother goes on an adventure, she always ties up loose ends.

The things that managed to stay on will now emigrate to an unknown destination.


>> Two Jews on an airplane to Germany.

As protocol would have it, we must visit family first.

But of all the relatives we had here, only a distant one remains.

His name is manu troekes and we're of the same generation.

His family survived the war because his grandfather wasn't Jewish, but he, too, discovered one day that he had a great-grandmother who died in the holocaust: Paula lehmann.

>> Manu:

>> Hannah:


>> Woman speaking German:

>> Arnon: This is me, o.K.?

This is my mother and father.

This is Gerda... and Kurt.

And here, this is susanne lehmann and Heinrich lehmann.

And he had four brothers and a sister.

>> Hannah: Who?

>> Lehmann, Heinrich lehmann.

>> Heinrich lehmann.

>> Yes, yes, that's right.

>> Arnon: That's your grandfather.

>> Hannah: I didn't know.

>> You didn't know?

>> No.

>> What?

O.k., continue.

Still, you're right, you're right.

>> Arnon: And this is Paula.

Paula, the mother of your grandmother. >> Yes.

>> And here's your mother.

>> Yes.

>> And here is you.

>> Exactly.

>> Manu.

>> Yes, exactly.

I show you what I did.

>> Woman: He did the same paperwork.

>> The same paper I did.

>> A few days ago.

>> I started maybe a week ago because I didn't-- I knew, but I did not have all the details.

And uh, I got some details and a photo, two photos, from ilanna.

Ilanna's also the same generation.

Of another brother--

Max lehmann.

>> Arnon: Max lehmann.

He is here.

>> Manu: He's the brother of Heinrich lehmann and the brother of Paula lehmann who's Paula Bernstein.

>> To me, it's new.

>> I show you, wait.

>> To me, it's new.

I really didn't know.

>> Look.

>> Hannah: Oh.

>> My name is not lehmann, of course, and yours is not lehmann, but still, it is our family.

It goes back one, two, three, four generations.

>> I don't understand how I don't know.

We didn't ask and we were not told.

I knew only about the people who are alive, but never about the people who are not with US.

>> Yeah, yeah.

>> Did you know about the, the destiny of Paula lehmann?

>> Yes, yes.

>> And how did you know this story?

>> I asked.

But they said, "no."

They didn't want to hurt me, but then much later, I learned they didn't want to hurt themselves too.

And one of the most horrifying things is that they let go my great-grandmother.

She was deported.

She ended in theresienstadt.

So what did the family do?

Did they bring her with a suitcase to the truck?

Did they-- why did they leave, let her go?

And why did not somebody hide her?

I mean, even from the family.

>> Yeah.

Is it possible they didn't know where she was going?

>> No.

Everybody knew.

>> Afternoon has come and in Berlin, do as the berliners do-- after schlafstunde, time for spazieren.

>> Manu:

>> Ja?

>> Hier.

>> Hier ist Paula.

Guntherstrasse 45.

>> That was her last apartment?

>> Yes. >> Wow.

And here, look, there's ein stolperstein.

To memory, Paula lehmann, here.

>> Hannah: No. >> Manu: Yeah!

>> I didn't know that they put that--

>> Hannah: Unbelievable.

>> Manu: It's an artist who had the idea, an artist.

And then either a family or friend or somebody...

>> Pays for it.

>> Pays for this and then you have to ask the community and this is for Paula.

>> That's for--

>> manu: This is for Paula.

>> Paula lehmann isn't my only relative who lived here.

The home of susanne lehmann was a quick walk away.

When susannah would go to visit her sister-in-law, she'd take little hannahle along, to show off her granddaughter.


>> It is from here that my grandparents tried to rescue susanne lehmann.

They wrote from Palestine to anyone who could help and also tried desperately to locate their good friend.

He now had a code name: "Mild".

I don't know if Von mildenstein ever received their letters or where he was in those years.

Could he have helped?


>> Hannah and arnon: Hi.

>> Edda: How are you?

Did you have a good journey?

>> Yes.

>> Edda: There's ravensburger jigsaws.

>> Arnon: Ah.

>> Edda: If they like that.

It's great fun.

>> Arnon: My daughter loves presents.

>> Edda: That is very nice.

You know what a tige-ente is?

It's a tiger-duck.

>> I must admit, it's my birthday today, you know?

>> Hannah and arnon: Oh!

>> I didn't want to tell you before.

>> Hannah: Happy birthday!

>> Thank you.

>> Arnon: So Harald, this is for your birthday.

>> Yeah.

>> I hope you will like it.

>> Thank you very much.

>> Arnon: Yes.

And this is for your hospitality.

>> I'm not doing anything for you.

Oh, that is wonderful.

>> Arnon: This is from the dead sea.

>> Oh, that's great.

>> Israel folk songs.

Ja, gut.

>> Edda: Thank you very, very much.

And put it, uh...

>> Before we arrived, edda dug up new evidence of the friendship between her parents and my grandparents.

...oh, I don't believe it.

...her mother's old diaries from the time after their trip to Palestine.

>> Edda: Mother's diaries, yes.

They are something.

Well, there's tuchlers again.

That was a theater or a film.

I think I would get so bored to go to the same restaurant.

Well, there's tuchlers again.

That was on the 13th.

>> Arnon: 13th of what?

>> November.

Just before they left, but they stayed even closer together just before they left.

>> Yes.

>> Understandable. >> Yes.

>> Edda speaking German:

...that was it.

>> Harald: It's coming, it's coming!

>> Man speaking German:

>> Arnon: Mazel tov!

>> Friendly fire.

>> Happy birthday.

>> Happy birthday.

>> Stay like this.

Yes.

>> Arnon: Edda.

Mazel tov.

Arnon: I was asking my mother what happened the second world war for our family?

And she claimed that her parents didn't tell her nothing.

>> Hannah: No, they were not talking about it.

>> Edda: I think that was the kind of education we got then.

You know, parents wouldn't talk about it and you wouldn't ask because you weren't allowed to ask.

>> Also, with US, it... we don't have any discussion, any-- it was holes.

>> But that was the way that we were brought up.

We didn't really get an awful lot of...

>> But I remember very well during the war, we had no radio, we had no electricity and the Americans and the British, they put posters on the walls and so on and informed US about these concentration camps.

And people didn't believe it.

They said, "it's all propaganda, it's all," you know, um, ja.

Done by the Americans and British.

They just didn't believe it.

It's... you couldn't believe it and then all of a sudden, ja, it is the truth, you know.

And I remember that the word

"Nazi" wasn't there, it was "nationalsozialisten" this word "Nazi" came after the war-- we never used it.

>> Arnon: And today you use it?

>> Pardon?

>> Today, do you use the word Nazi here in--

>> oh, yeah, all the time.

Nazi, Nazi.

"Oh, he was a Nazi," and so on.

Mm-hmm.

>> So you are the famous neighbor.

Edda told me about you.

Any question I have, you are

>> Edda speaking German:

>> Neighbor speaking German:


>> Harald: The little house where you sit and have your tea in the afternoon.

>> And what was actually the story with the father of edda?

I didn't get it.

>> Well, I learned a lot today when jedel talked about it.

I didn't know edda's father was, he is an engineer, civil engineer, really.

And as such, I think he also worked and um, but he liked traveling...

>> But during that time in the beginning, was he part of the national socialistic party?

>> Oh, he must have been, ja.

Ja.

Edda would know.

I think he has been, he must have been.

As many have been, like our teachers all were members of the party-- they had to be, and uh, nothing re-- they just wore this little emblem here and um, that was it.

I must say, not everybody was a bad, a bad Nazi, you know.

They were also just members.

Had to, some had to be.

>> But do you know what was his job?

>> Pardon?

>> What was his job?

>> I think he was, um...

Ja, it's strange to say, I don't really know.

He worked in government, in the, I think in the interior ministry.

But edda would know exactly, of course.

And it's strange enough that we never-- edda and i-- we hardly ever talk about it.

>> Really?

>> Not a topic.

I don't know. >> Really?

>> And I never had so much interest in my father-in-law as we had today, you know?

>> There was a time when the name Von mildenstein must have aroused more interest.

When the eichmann trial was on German TV and the baron's name came up, what did edda's parents say about it at home?

She was 21.

>> I don't know.

I mean, yes, of course, he was mentioned simply because he was the chap before eichmann.

But he was thrown out because he had other ideas.

>> Arnon: And what was his way different from the others?

>> Huh?

>> In what way his method or way of working was different from the others?

>> Oh, I don't know what the others were like, but I mean, he--

>> eichmann was--

>> particularly eichmann.

I don't know what he, his beginning views of what he actually stood for.

I haven't a clue.

But what I read in the books say he immediately organized things like concentration camps, etc.

That was something he hadn't even, father hadn't even heard about before.

They wanted to get serious, really, and they didn't want to have anybody who would hinder that and he was sort of being, very much "he's not going to do anything to any Jews.

He's got Jewish friends anyway.

So, we drop him" and he had very quickly to rethink "what am I going to do?

What's the next step?"

And he said, "the best is if I carry on with what I was good at so far, which was writing about where I'm traveling."

And then he decided to go to America.

>> He left Germany?

>> He did, yeah.

That's when he took the boat and then rode-- I think four years he went out from.

Um, after that, as I say, he tried to put a little bit more space between him and whoever was in power in Berlin.

When was he actually arrested?

Was it '50s?

>> Eichmann.

>> Eichmann?

>> Eichmann?

It was in '61.

>> Close.

O.k., '61.

And I think his then boss at Coca-Cola-- and I haven't got the papers for that-- suggested that he would more or less take the bull by the horn, which is a word that if there is a problem, tackle it.

And he got together with der spiegel, which is a very, was a very well-known-- aggressive, in a way-- publication.

He said, "just put it right there."

And he wrote his side of the time there and that was it and it was never another item.

Because basically, all he was, he was doing this journalistic work.

>> We said goodbye to edda and Harald and promised to stay in touch.

I found the article edda mentioned.

She got some of the details wrong.

It was published five years after the eichmann trial and dealt with s.S. History.

In it, edda's father is not listed as a journalist, but as eichmann's first boss.

I called heinz hoehne, the man who wrote the article.

Much to my surprise, he recognized my grandfather's name immediately.

Von mildenstein made a point of telling him about Kurt tuchler, presenting himself as

"the zionists' best friend".

>> Hello, Mr. Goldfinger!

Very nice to see you.

This is my wife.

>> Arnon: Did you meet my grandfather, Kurt tuchler?

:

>> And when Von mildenstein came to your office, what else did he tell you about his relationship with my grandfather?


>> But the eichmann trial happened already five years before, so they already heard about it--


>> So what Von mildenstein actually did during the war?


>> When heinz hoehne researched s.s. History, many documents were off limits to him because they were kept in east Germany.

I go to the reunited national archives to find what hoehne couldn't.

As it turns out, many Von mildenstein documents survived the war.

Among them: A membership card from the Nazi party before they took power; A letter of appointment as an s.S. Officer; and a c.V. In his own handwriting.

1935 to '36: Head of department at the s.D., the secret service.

1937: A trip abroad, just like edda said.

But oops-- 1938:

Goebbels' ministry of propaganda, where he spent seven years as a department head.

So Von mildenstein didn't quit the party, he was promoted within its ranks-- less than a year after he said good-bye to my grandparents.

I just can't understand the relationship between my grandparents and Von mildenstein and no one seems to offer a satisfying explanation.

So I turn to an expert on Nazis and denial, professor Michael wildt.

>> Hi. >> Hello.

>> Happy to see you. >> Hello.


>> Arnon: My biggest surprise was that I found out that the tuchlers and mildenstein were in contact also after the war.

They renewed their friendship.

And I cannot understand it.

How can it be?


>> I look at pictures of my grandparents returning to Germany time and again, as if they wanted to prove that their homeland didn't reject them.

And I try to imagine their first talk with Von mildenstein after the war.

Did he tell them what he told his daughter, that he left it all behind, to travel around the world?

And did they, in order to deal with the loss of susanne lehmann, choose to believe their friend wasn't involved?

But my dilemma is not what to believe or not to believe.

I have to decide what to do with what I know.

>> You know, but what I found and I felt that I must tell you because you know, because of our, you know, some kind of a friendship that's started even between US, is um, I found out information about your father, what I found to document that he was working in the goebbels' ministry and he was officer in the s.D., which was the intelligence for the s.S., and that's really different from what I knew so far.

>> Yeah, I don't quite believe that because he wasn't there anymore.

He was not in Berlin after--

I don't know whether the forces were sort of gathering up or if he stayed long enough, he would have been in the forces himself.

He didn't.

Because that's when they went to Japan.

>> I went to the bundesarchiv and this is something that I copied for you.

>> Yeah, o.K.

>> See, this is uh, that's his handwriting, yeah?

>> Yep.

>> Here he writes in his c.V.

That he joined goebbels' ministry in the...

>> O.k., I mean, that is like a skeleton.

I've got something where if I found the pieces, I could patch them to that, but not more than that.

With all fairness and even wanting to do it, I wouldn't know where to start at the minute.

>> There is a whole file in the bundesarchiv, but you can ask if you are interesting in it.

>> Yeah, I mean, I'm interested, like, you know, if you've got someone in the family who's done something, you want to find out what was he thinking about it and why did it sort of-- where did he go and where was the rest of the family at that time?

Um... gives nothing really on that, does it?

>> You think it will help to-- do you want to learn about the past?

>> I want to learn around it, but I'd like to sort of-- preferably-- see different sides of it as well, if that is possible.

Um...

Anything else?

>> When you start talking about the past, it's impossible to stop.

Who would have imagined that my mother and I would visit the grave of Heinrich lehmann, susanne's husband, my mother's grandfather, my great-grandfather.

>> Hannah, in Hebrew:


>> Hannah: Wow, wow, wow.

>> Arnon: Wow, wow, wow.