How did you found screenwriter Fritz Bauer, a German hero
Olivier Guez – The starting point is the translation German my book German Jews. the impossible return the director Lars Kraume read it, he contacted me to write a story around that theme. We finally stopped on the character of Fritz Bauer, who had sunk into oblivion. But he was one of the main initiators of memory work on Nazism in Germany.
Beyond the figure “heroic” Bauer, the film recalls that in the fifties the German judiciary was riddled with former Nazis or supporters …
Not that the judiciary, all institutions: police, education, health, industry … But it was normal, it was some ten years after the war. All members of the administration and super-structures in the country were the same, it was the Nazis who had just swapped their uniforms for more sober suits. When I was doing my research for the book, I was fascinated by this post-war because it was a very ambiguous time, very gray, very dark.
The film shows that history and morality are two different things.
Ah, they are rarely mix! The film really tries to show the complexity of this period with the realpolitik of the FRG, the United States, Israel, etc. Bauer evolves amid the geopolitical maze he does not hold the key. It’s a loner who does his work and his idea of justice in life. It’s a western hero! It’s Dirty Harry, but in a slightly different kind. Bauer has given desire to be German this generation grew up in the postwar period.
There was a plethora of films about Nazism. Fritz Bauer is it a film about the subject at risk of saturation, or do you think that there is still to learn about this period?
There are no flashback 30 or 40 years in the film, no swastika – except on the French poster that is not us. The imagination of our film is the spy movies of the 50s, just as in Bridge of Spies Spielberg: John Le Carré, Preminger, this vein … The post Nazism was finally treated fairly cinema. Take the Eichmann case, it is a cold war history. German services know that Eichmann hiding in Argentina in 1952, and the CIA know in 1956, but nobody moves. Eichmann is too important a figure, it may wobble West Germany.