“The White House on the Rhine”: a historical drama about “Hitler’s favorite hotel”

One of the most famous hostels in Bonn, the Rheinhotel Dreesen can glimpse the past steeped in history. Troubled times behind the hotel where Charlie Chaplin stayed, which was considered the “favorite hotel of the Fuhrer”. In ARD’s two-part series The White House on the Rhine, fantasy and reality come together and result in a thrilling historical drama.


The White House on the Rhine

historical drama • 03.10.2022• 8:15 pm

“Take care of your son in the near future,” Joop Butzer (Peter Notmeyer) warns his former boss Fritz Driessen (Benjamin Sadler). And the dismissed hotel chef whispers that he can’t tell Drazen anything else. As a viewer, of course, you already know why the hotelier’s son is in danger: Emil (Jonathan Berlin) shoots his boss as a soldier during World War I – and is now, at home, blackmailed by a former front-line comrade (Hendrik Hetmann).

It is an oppressive background story that stretches like a red thread through the historic two-part event The White House on the Rhine. Time and time again, Emil, the constantly ambivalent protagonist in both films, fell for his actions during the war. Every moment of the shock reminded him of the intense guilt that – as many flashbacks show – was ultimately just self-defense. In general: Emil always tries to act according to his knowledge and faith. In fact. Therefore, it only hurts to watch how the younger director of the “Rheinhotel Dreesen”, brilliantly embodied by Jonathan Berlin, increasingly abandons his own principles.

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The true story of the hotel owner’s dynasty

“Emil’s change in the course of the film, the decision to betray his ideals for the sake of the survival of the hotel, is the most tragic and incriminating point of the character and once again shows how dangerous it is not to reject repressive political forces in all respects.”, sums up the lead actor only 28-year-old Jonathan Berlin. His role is one that turns the largely true story of the Rhenish County hotelier’s dynasty into a gripping drama. So it’s no surprise that Emil Driesen didn’t actually exist – unlike Maria (Kathrina Schutler) and Fritz Driessen, Emil’s parents in the movie.

The subsequent documentary highlights what is happening around the hotel

As those interested in history can find out in the “Rheinhotel Dreesen” documents, the latter is based on the actual ancestors of the current hotel operator, 70-year-old Fritz Dreesen. The first features an approximately 30-minute informative film by Martin Herzog – after a short break due to “everyday themes” – on Monday, October 3, at 11:35 p.m., following the two-part fictional show. The documentary explains: “The White House on the Rhine” may have compressed real events too much and added one conflict or another for entertainment purposes. However, it is undeniable that the historic hotel and its operators have played a major role in many historical turning points.

Adolf Hitler and Reinhotel Dreesen

“It’s crazy what happened in this house,” Anna Maria Driesen, who will soon take over the management of the hotel from the fifth generation, says in the documentary. The 90-minute films, with first-class actors such as Schüttler, Sadler and Nicole Heesters, directed by director Thorsten M. Schmidt from a screenplay by Dirk Kamber, also appear: The end of the First World War and the eve of the Second is said to have taken place at the Rheinhotel, and they can be described with confidence. as “crazy”. So it’s not true that Charlie Chaplin (played by Stephen Moltary in the movie) and Adolf Hitler (Max Gerch) unknowingly lived next door to each other in the hotel. However, it is true that Chaplin was a guest in 1921 and that the Driessens House was considered the “favorite hotel of the Fuhrer” from 1926 onwards.

The filmmakers depict the impact Hitler had on his self-proclaimed favorite hotel with equal admiration as the fact that the dictator maintained a cordial relationship with the Driessens family – even though Fritz Driessen was considered “half-Jewish” in the sense of Nazi ideology. This paradox, typical of the interwar years, is captured by Schmidt and Kamber in their films without pity, but with a great deal of narrative skill. hats!

The White House on the Rhine – Monday 03.10.2019. – ARD: 8.15 p.m.


source: teleschau – der mediendienst GmbH

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