Today was the yearly Kristallnacht commemoration in Amsterdam. This year more people than usual came to this memorial for the 1938 nightmarish events. This may be caused by the recent Dutch media attention for increased anti-semitism, especially under Islamic school children. I did not realize that it was a memorial day when I visited ‘Rosenstrasse’ It is the third movie I visited this year with the prosecution of Jews as a theme, after ‘The Pianist’ and ‘De Tweeling’. Perhaps I found these movies more impressive, but ‘Rosenstrasse’ is also a moving film.

It deals with the true story of this Berlin street, which I visited a few years ago. In a building here Jewish men were imprisoned who were married with German (‘Aryan’) women. The men who were involved in these ‘mixed marriages’ were not directly send to the prisoner camps. Most of their women spent many hours in the street outside of the building, opposing the regime, trying to get a sign of life or news about the fate of their men and ultimately to get them out.

In the movie Hannah, a girl from America travels to Berlin to try to find out more about the past of her Jewish mother Ruth, who finds it too difficult to tell her daughter what happened.. Hannah finds the 90-year old Lena Fischer, whose husband was imprisoned in the Rosenstrasse. In that time Lena also took care of young Ruth, whose own parents were missing. Lena tells Hannah all about the events that happened in the Rosenstrasse. With the help of many flash-backs the story is re-created, which enables Hannah to understand her mother better.

The film is directed by Margarethe von Trotta, who made a couple of films before, including ‘Das Versprechen’, which I liked a lot. ‘Rosenstrasse’ is a German-Dutch co-production, and various well-known Dutch actors take part, including Thekla Reuten and Fedja van Hu?t. There’s also a small role for Jan Decleir. There are a few narrative lines in the story: the search of Hannah for more information about her mother; the events full of tension which Lena Fischer experienced in the Rosenstrasse; and on a more general level the courageous women demanding for the release of their men. As I said, it’s a sentimental film, for which you need tissues within reach. But it’s hard to tell a story about this period which is not moving, so I expect that ‘Rosenstrasse’ is not the last film to deal with this subject matter…