Germany

Synopsis

The young and idealistic attorney Peter Rohm wants nothing more than to uncover the truth. His moral principles are supported by his undeterred faith in the justice system as well as his love for his wife Rebecca. Hard at work researching the theoretical prosecution of the supposedly deceased Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 400,000 people, mostly Jews, at the Auschwitz concentration camp, Rohm's universe is suddenly shattered when an old man appears claiming to be Mengele and chooses him for his defense. Knowing Mengele from his research to be evil incarnate, yet bound by his conscience to uphold the law, Rohm faces a terrible dilemma. How can he possibly resolve such an inner conflict? How can such evil have a defense? Why he of all people? As the answers to these questions reveal themselves to Rohm, he realizes he has no choice but to defend the infamous "Angel of Death" of Auschwitz. The dilemma of how to maintain his professional and ethical integrity creates emotional havoc for Rohm, which is compounded by Rebecca's fear that such a high-profile case will throw their comfortable world into turmoil. Rebecca, who works as a journalist, finds her anxiety overcome by her professional curiosity as she becomes caught up in the dark undercurrents of the case, placing her very life in grave danger. Josef Mengele has come out of hiding in Argentina because he knows his death is near at hand. Convinced of his own innocence, Mengele seizes this opportunity as his last chance to prove it to the world. He seems to be confident that in spite of Peter Rohm's hostility, the attorney will defend him. As a horrible secret emerges from Rohm's past, he plunges wholeheartedly into building Mengele's defense, fighting to reconcile his own feelings of guilt as well as his belief in the justice system. This story probes the complications arising from the fictional reappearance of the war criminal Josef Mengele. The law states that everyone is entitled to a defense, but now, fifty years later, how will the law - and the world - react to such a trial?
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Roland Suso Richter

Written by: Johann Betz (johann betz)

Produced by: Werner Koenig

Cinematography: Martin Langer

Editing: Peter Adam

Main Cast: Götz George (Josef Mengele), Kai Wiesinger (Peter Rohm), Karoline Eichhorn (Rebekka Rohm), Doris Schade (Hilde Rohm), Peter Roggisch (Heribert Vogt)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actor 1999