Israeli Film 'The Flat' Becomes Part of German High-school Curriculum

Documentary directed by Arnon Goldfinger presents in part his grandparents’ connection to a senior Nazi official.

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Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, grandparents of director Arnon Goldfinger, seen visiting Baden-Baden in the movie.
Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, grandparents of Arnon Goldfinger, director of "The Flat," are seen visiting Baden-Baden in the movie.Credit: Photos: Philip Balaish

The Israeli-award-winning documentary “The Flat” (“Hadira” in Hebrew) is becoming part of the German high-school curriculum.

The rights to show the 2011 film, an Israeli-German co-production directed by Arnon Goldfinger, were acquired by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, which promotes education on political and historical topics in German educational institutions.

It will be added to a list of films recommended for showing in German high schools.

While the history of the Third Reich and the Holocaust are addressed in the German educational system, the subject is not addressed from a personal perspective, as it is in Israel, said Henri Brautigan, chief editor at the German government agency.

German schools, he said, don’t do family “roots” projects as is common in Israel. The choice of “The Flat” is designed to encourage teachers to motivate their students to critically examine their own families’ histories and any involvement of relatives in the Nazi regime, he said.

Grandparents’ connection

In “The Flat,” Goldfinger reveals details about his own family’s history, which were uncovered when his grandparents’ apartment was being cleared out.

In that effort, Goldfinger discovered an amazing connection his grandparents had over many years with a German couple, the husband of whom had been a senior Nazi official.

The connection was kept secret for decades, and the discovery motivated Goldfinger and his mother to delve more deeply into their family’s past.

“The Flat” has garnered awards worldwide, including the Ophir, the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars, for best documentary.

It was recognized at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York for its editing and was nominated for the German equivalent of the Oscar as well.

The film was shown in more than 100 theaters in Germany, and last year it was seen by about a million viewers in Germany when it was broadcast on five major television channels.

In German high schools the film will be accompanied by a kit that includes worksheets and articles on subjects including “Nazi and Family Memory in Germany,” “The Cultures of Remembrance in Israel” and “A Perspective on Office Holders in the Nazi Regime.”