You won’t get my pride!

Darkness is nothing but a dramatic leap and few movies are interrupted. Martha Liebermann, who had just received the Berlin Assembly on the 80th anniversary of her husband Max in 1927, steps through the hall of the stately villa in Wannsee straight into 1943 as if through a time tunnel. Now you can see in the dark the light of the apartment to which she was forced to move due to her deprivation by the National Socialists. Impressionist painter Max Liebermann, who died in 1935, is only present in the paintings, which are faintly recognizable in dark rooms.

Focus on the last weeks of life

The TV movie “Martha Lieberman – Einstein Lieben,” directed by Marco Rossi (screenplay) and Stefan Boehling (director), focuses on the final weeks of the life of Max Lieberman’s Jewish widow. Martha avoided deportation to Theresienstadt in March 1943 by committing suicide. According to her own statements, lead actress Thekla Carola Wied started the film as herself. After reading the novel “Dem Paradies so fern” by Sophia Mott, Wade was able to get expert producer Regina Ziegler excited about the material.

In the title role not only the magician, the popular actress, who was 77 years old at the time of filming, gave an impressive role. Martha Lieberman is a strong woman who maintains her pride, which sometimes appears as stubborn and tough, but also does not care about class boundaries and has empathy and humanity.

However, the perfect exaggeration sometimes seems rather dubious. How Martha Lieberman tries to protect her housekeeper Louise (Lana Cooper) from being taken over by the Nazis becomes a thrilling and emotional climax to the film. The fact that this is just pure fiction is explained in the credits. But does this really do justice to Martha Lieberman? Does the fate of Judaism, whose death was driven by the Nazis, need further embellishment and tragic stress? More restraint was also desirable in the melodramatic musical accompaniment.

In addition to Grand Dame Thekla Carola Wied, Franz Hartwig is particularly persuasive as Gestapo officer Rudolf Teubner, who pursues his victims with politely disguised icy coldness. Anyone who saw Hartwig in Season 1 of “Der Pass” won’t be surprised by the cast. What is even more surprising is that here Lana Cooper can be considered a housekeeper in Berlin. When Cooper as Louise in The Maid’s Costume initially declares that she understands art “just as a frog understands engineering,” it takes some getting used to. But it improves precisely because it avoids the clichés of Berlin ingenuity.

In Germany in 1943, it wasn’t just dark because of the blackouts that were issued during the war. Martha Lieberman is at the mercy of the harassment of the Nazi regime in her apartment. She avoids going out on the streets if she can because she has to wear the star there and so it’s fair game.

It is for this forced solitude that photographer Jan Brahl finds wonderful photographs preserved in the fading twilight. The theater remains relatively low-key, especially in Martha Lieberman’s apartment, two blocks away, the office of Teubner’s Gestapo, and later the apartments of Luise and art dealer Carl Solbach (Wanja Mues). The bombing of Berlin, which increased in early 1943, was excluded. Fortunately, director Boehling also uses Nazi symbols in moderation.

At the same time, the film reminds us of the little-known circle of resistance around Hanna Solf (Fritzy Haberland), the widow of a former German ambassador, who helped the persecuted to escape abroad. After much hesitation, Martha Lieberman also applied to leave the country. Hannah Solf, her daughter, Countess Lage von Ballestrim (Johanna Polley) and Baron Edgar von Uxkull (Arnd Kluwetter) are now pressured to sell the paintings in order to raise the Nazi “ransom” of 50,000 Marks.

Copies of the originals must be made so that the prohibited sale of state-registered photographs does not attract attention. For Martha Lieberman, the loss of her paintings will be especially painful, because: “This is my life.” As is known, the Jewish population was deprived of its rights and plundered before its destruction. The handling of this unprecedented theft also makes the film valuable.

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