Movie Review: Rosenstrasse- The Hidden Heros of the Holocaust

In Berlin in 1943 on a street called Rosenstrasse, Jewish men were rounded up for deportation to concentration camps and certain death. Based on a true story, Rosenstrasse, tells the story of how their Aryan wives fought to save their lives. Judy Rieser reviews Rosenstrasse.

Film: Rosenstrasse
Running Time: 136 minutes
Staring: Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Doris Schade and Martin Feifel Opens in New York on August 20, 2004
Official Rosenstrasse Website

Poignant and powerful, emotional and enthralling, Rosenstrasse, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, takes a new approach to the horrors of World War Two Germany. Focusing on a little-known facet of the war, the film looks into the lives of Aryan women who married Jewish men and engaged in civil disobedience to protest the Nazi “roundup and capture” of their husbands.

Rosenstrasse’s story (the title comes from the name of the Jewish Community Center in Berlin) is told through the eyes of Hannah Weinstein (played by Maria Schrader), an American woman in her twenties who seeks out information about her mother’s survival during the war. Her journey leads her to Lena Fischer (played by both Katja Riemann and Doris Schade), who was instrumental in saving Weinstein’s mother as well as her own husband. Through Fischer’s reminiscences, Weinstein learns of the remarkable efforts undertaken by a group of women who stood up to the Nazi regime to rescue their husbands.

The acting is sensational throughout the film, and the gripping story is told through careful cinematic shots, using lighting and music to set the appropriate tone in both present day and flashback sequences. The film provides a powerful new look at history, one which is as welcome as it is moving.

About The Author
Judy Rieser teaches film and theatre at Touro College’s Lander College for Women, in Manhattan. She has taught dramatic workshops in three countries and over 5 states. She has appeared in and worked on several short films as an assistant director. Judy holds a MA in Educational Theatre and a BA in Dramatic Literature and Cinema Studies, both from NYU.

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