Amen is a film directed by Costa-Gavras , which narrates the supposed complicity with which the Holy See and several countries of the world tolerated that the regime of the Nazi Germany advanced in the extermination of Jews during World War II and is based in the work of theater the vicar of Rolf Hochhuth .
Kurt Gerstein ( Ulrich Tukur ), a real personage , works in the Wehrmacht , purifying water in the front. Along with other Protestants they manage to stop the program of euthanasia that the Nazi authorities carry out eliminating the psychic patients .
Shortly after Kurt starts working surtiendo of chemicals the concentration camps who happen to be of extermination . When he realizes that a massive and systematic extermination of the Jews is occurring, he tries to stop it by appealing to the same Protestant leaders who had stopped the euthanasia campaign . But these do not want to confront the Nazi power and less to defend the Jews. After seeing the atrocities in Treblinka , he accidentally contacts the Swedish diplomat Baron Göran von Otter on a train and asks for help.
After suffering several rejections and the desire not to know many, Kurt goes to the Apostolic Nunciature of Berlin to try to have the Pope publicly denounce this massacre, and although the Nuncio refuses to listen to him, a young Jesuit , Ricardo Fontana (fictional character), is interested in his story. They will try to make known to the world this ignominy, without success. Ricardo will travel to Rome , but no one, not even Pope Pius XII himself seems interested in the fate of the Jews.
- Ulrich Tukur : Kurt Gerstein
- Mathieu Kassovitz: Riccardo Fontana
- Ulrich Mühe : SS doctor
- Michel Duchaussoy: Cardinal
- Marcel Iureş : Pius XII.
- Ion Caramitru: Conde Fontana
- Friedrich von Thun: Father of Gerstein
- Antje Schmidt: Wife of Gerstein
- Günther Maria Halmer: Pastor Dibelius
- Michael Mendl: Monsignore Hudal
- Sebastian Koch : Rudolf Höß
It is a traditional blockbuster in film terms, with a huge deployment of teams running through Germany, Poland and Italy; The professionalism in narrative matters is clear and its language – including the dialogues, in an aseptic and impersonal English – pass through the conventional.
Referring to the film said Costa-Gravas when he was visiting Buenos Aires to present it:
“The scandal against Pope Pius XII had already taken place; It was not worth starting over again. I was interested in the people who had resisted and the resistance itself. Because the main theme of the film is silence, the indifference of the constituted authorities, political and intellectual, and the resistance of more modest characters. It is said that at that time the pope did not speak, that is certain. If you think about it, the Vatican is not the Church; Is a State, with all the attributes of a State, diplomacy, etc. What interested me was the attitude of two characters, true Christians, a Catholic and a Protestant, who in practical and difficult conditions resisted. They try to warn the world, to inform their hierarchies … They do everything they can, but no one reacts and they come to sacrifice for their Christian philosophy. That’s what interested me and for me the film is a metaphor about our silences and our indifference today. ” 1
He later recalls that when the raids began , the convents and monasteries of Rome were opened with the order to receive all kinds of fugitives, whether they were Jews, Communists or Gypsies, and added
“At the same time, a train was leaving with 1,200 Jews deported; There the Vatican was silent. Then it was the double game of, on the one hand, to protect and, on the other, to remain silent. The Church said that it had sheltered 70,000, but that is impossible because there were not so many convents or so many Jews in Rome. After that first train there were others, with four or five thousand more, but it was with time. But I want to add something: after the war, the same convents opened for the Nazis, thanks to the intervention of several well-known cardinals, notably Cardinal Coudal, who in the last scene of the film helps an SS chief to leave for Argentina . ” 2