The Aryan Couple (2004)
Director: John Daly.
Starring: Martin Landau (Joseph Krauzenberg), Judy Parfitt (Rachel Krauzenberg), Kenny Doughty (Hans Vassman), Caroline Carver (Ingrid Vassman), Danny Webb (Himmler), Christopher Fulford (Edelhein), Steven Mackintosh (Eichmann), Richard Bremmer, Jake Wood (Dresler), Nolan Hemmings (Gerhard), Austen Palmer (Kurt Becher), Tyler Bizzell (Second Sentry), Gretchen Becker (Jolanda), Arcadiy Golubovich, Adrian O'Donnell (Adjutant).
Himmler makes a deal with a rich Hungarian steel industrialist: his vast fortune for his and his extended family's freedom
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
Scenes from a concentration camp complete with incinerators, barracks, mounds of shoes, mounds of suit cases, people being put on trains and a woman being separated from her family. Head man of the Final Solution of the Jewish problem, Eichmann's muffled voice is heard. An Aryan couple (Hans and Ingrid) watch from a bridge.
Hungary 1944. Hans and Ingrid Vassman work at the Krauzenberg Palace. Ingrid is two months pregnant. They have to help prepare a very important dinner tonight at 7:30 p.m. for six. The wealthy Joseph Krauzenberg talks about giving the Nazis all they own to save their family. The Reichsfuhrer (Himmler) is taking it all over.
Himmler has invited Eichmann to the Palace for after dinner coffee and the signing of the documents. The Krauzenbergs do not trust the butcher Eichmann. The Nazis find it hard to believe that Ingrid and Hans are an Aryan couple still working for the Jews. They all agree that once the Krauzenbergs leave, the Aryan couple must be silenced.
Joseph Krauzenberg says a tearful goodbye to his large staff. He thanks them for their service and hard work. Joseph then has to go see Eichmann. He has to wait with several other people, then by himself. He finally gets to see Eichmann. The Nazi notes that the wealthy man is "donating" his art collection to Heinrich Himmler. This is part of the Europa Plan that was first thought up by Gizzy Fleischman. It allows the purchase of freedom for certain Jews . It has become known as the Europa Plan. Eichmann, on orders from Himmler, has rounded up Joseph's large extended family. They are all here. Joseph is taken to the East Tower where he finds his entire family waiting for him in a very large cell. One Nazi advises Joseph to keep his family from sobbing. "It doesn't help." Joseph tells his family to remain calm, do not ask questions and trust him. That way they will all be safe.
Joseph meets his wife for lunch where he tells her about his meeting with Eichmann. Himmler arrives. Eichmann is informed about coming to coffee at the Palace. The Jew Killer asks: "Why didn't you tell me?" Himmler tells the man to be patient, courteous and polite for tonight they take over Krauzenberg industries. If not, the Krauzenbergs will be leaving for the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The Aryan couple buys food in the market. Joseph Krauzenberg leaves the lunch table telling his wife that he will see her later for dinner. Everything will belong to the Nazis after tonight. Hans talks about the possibility of poisoning Himmler and Eichmann with cyanide pills in their drinks. He says: "It's our duty to kill them. We can't tell Krauzenberg the truth." The Aryan couple is actually a Jewish couple. They have worked with the resistance as an Aryan couple.
Officer Edelhein talks with the Aryan couple. He asks them: "What's it like working for a Jew?" He seems very attracted to the blonde Ingrid. He has her take him upstairs, but she runs ahead of him and removes and hides some radio equipment. When Edelhein catches up with her he tells her: "You look beautiful in your bedroom." He asks her if this will be her first child. Yes. He adds: "You could have volunteered to have more children for the program." He speaks of the Lebensborn program in which German women volunteered to have children by very healthy German men. Edelhein says: "I can imagine you undressed." And Edelhein likes the idea or siring a child with Ingrid. Ingrid finally gets away from by saying: "Sir, I have work to do downstairs." But he still does not give up. He is a bit sadistic and asks Hans: "Would you allow your wife to be sired?" Hans just answers yes.
Edelhein tells Eichmann to hold Ingrid in a private room for him. Preferably a room that is reasonably sound-proof.
Mrs. Krauzenberg arrives at the Palace. Ingrid asks her about the possibility of she and Hans going with them to Palestine. The Jewish woman doubts that this is possible since they are Aryan. She then tells the couple that she has a present for them both. She gives Ingrid a bejeweled Star of David. She says that just one of the diamonds would allow them to buy a huge house.
Nearing dinner time Joseph and his wife are driven to the Palace. There are so many huge Nazi banners that Mrs. Krauzenbergs asks: "Is this a dinner or a rally?" Himmler arrives and tells the Krauzenbergs that they have a magnificent home. At dinner Joseph asks Himmler why did they chose the Jews to destroy. Himmler passes the buck by telling him to ask Eichmann, since he is the expert in the area. After dinner they adjourn to the library for coffee. Himmler has the documents all ready for the signatures of the Krauzenbergs. Mrs. Krauzenberg has been making a lot of snide comments to Himmler, which is scaring Mr. Krauzenberg a bit, but Himmler just ignores her remarks. Joseph asks Himmler for one concession. He wants his 3,000 employees (none of whom are by now Jewish) to be safe from harm. Himmler gives his assurance. Eichmann arrives. He witness the signatures. The Nazis leave.
The Krauzenbergs speak with the Aryan couple. Ingrid tells them that she is very worried. She says: "We are Jews, same as you." Their real names are Leila and David Steinberg. They joined the resistance movement and were renamed. By now the SS probably knows their true identities. Ingrid asks them to take her and her husband with them. Joseph says that is impossible: "We are all accounted for." But Mrs. Krauzenberg intervenes saying that Joseph will think of something. Joseph gives the couple some very valuable coins to sell in order to buy their freedom.
Leaving the Palace, Mr. Krauzenberg tells Officer Dressler that he needs to talk with him. Dressler says they can talk in the car.
The get-away airplane arrives. The Krauzenberg relatives arrive in two large army trucks. Joseph and his wife cry to see all of their relatives ready to escape to Switzerland. Edelhein wants to detain the servants at the Palace because they are Jews. But Himmler tells him that there are more important issues they have to be concerned with than two Jews.
At the Palace a phone call detains the servant couple. Now they are very worried about their fates. They are put in a grave and are about to be shot when Dressler intervenes. After the other Germans leaves, Dressler and a guard who knows Ingrid very well help the couple out of the grave. Dressler marches them into the Palace where he puts in a call to Eichmann. Eichmann wants to hear their confession and their execution. Dressler gets them to admit their real names and then fires his pistol a number of times. He tells Eichmann that the couple is dead. He hangs up. He tells the couple to get up off the floor. He then tells them: "You're off to Switzerland to see the Krauzenbergs." They all leave in a car.
Edelhein arrives to investigate the couples' execution. He finds the bullet casings, but no blood. He soon realizes that they were not executed at all. Outside Edelhein finds the German guard dead (he actually committed suicide over the supposed execution of Ingrid and Hans) and concludes that Dressler and the the Steinbergs killed him. Edelhein goes in to see Eichmann and tells him that he has been lied to and that the Jewish couple has escaped. Eichmann says that he will find them and execute them personally.
At the railway station Dressler gives the couple their identification papers. With these they are able to get by the security check and get onto the train. Later Edelhein gets the drop on Dressler and places him under arrest. He tells Dressler to say goodbye to his family. But Himmler does not want the Jewish couple detained. He wants them to escape to Switzerland so that the Krauzenbergs will be happy and complete their last part of the deal to deliver a lot of gold to Himmler. Himmler says only Eichmann and Edelhein care about the fate of the Jewish couple.
The Germans tell everyone to get off the train for a security check. It looks like the couple's goose is cooked. They are spotted. Just about the time that an officer is about to detain the couple, the Major intervenes. He just finished a telephone conversation with Himmler who told him to let the couple proceed. The Major apologizes for the delay and tells the couple to get on the train. At this point, however, Edelhein arrives and he pulls his pistol on the couple and tells them to stop. The Major tells Edelhein the new situation, but Edelhein doesn't care. He is going to shoot one or both of the couple in the back as they walk to the train. A shot is fired and Edelhein drops to the ground. He struggles to fire his weapon but dies before he can actually shoot.
The couple meets the Krauzenbergs at the railway station.
Ten years later. The Krauzenbergs now live in a huge mansion and have two little girls.
Pretty good movie. It is based on a true story of Himmler trying to get rich off the suffering of the Jews. In Hungary, he makes a deal with the wealthy Jewish Krauzenberg family to buy their extended family the freedom to go to Switzerland and safety. By this time Himmler probably knew the Nazis were not going to win the war and was looking for the resources to help him escape Allied retribution for German atrocities. Secondarily, the movie deals with the love story between the Aryan couple who are actually a Jewish couple working for the resistance. The fate of the Krauzenbergs and the Jewish couple remains in doubt up until the very end of the movie.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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