A Script for a Fiction Feature by Orly RubinshteinCatsap
An SS inspector and a Jew will do everything to protect each other against all odds. Their courageous
friendship starts in Germany while they are infants and manages to survive a Nazi labor camp, but has a dire
personal toll as they start a new life in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, 1951. The young state of Israel endures severe financial difficulties. The government’s policy of austerity
burdens everyone. The citizens are weary of the food rations which obligate buying food substitutes with monthly coupons.
Few people have actual money to buy “real” food in the black market. Chancellor Adenauer offers compensation to Israel and
the Holocaust survivors. The fierce debate regarding the reparation from Germany threatens to divide the nation. The
supporters, headed by the Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, focus on getting Israel from a deep economic crisis and bring
prosperity and wellbeing. The opponents, headed by Menachem Begin, are certain that “Germans are the same Nazi” and not
a single cent should be accepted from them as atonement for the 6 million Jews. Both sides demonstrate fiercely and at times
even violently. Demonstrators throw stones on the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, which break windows and hurt a member
of the Knesset.
The reparation debate also splits families. Hilde, 35, a Holocaust survivor, is married to Gerson Litvak, a Knesset member,
and enjoys a warm and close friendship with Frieda, 35, also a Holocaust survivor. They are friends since infancy, since their
birth in Berlin, where they’ve grown up. Together with the German Christian Helena Schmidt, they have formed a profound
and devoted friendship: a threesome bond together in their heart and soul. The threesome was inseparable until the
compulsion of history events. Even during WWII Hilde and Frieda were in the same labor camp, and came to Jerusalem
together after surviving the camp. Gerson is well aware of the strength of this powerful friendship and joins as a third side in
the triangle, and together they form a semi-family.
The painful public debate of the reparation also ignites a debate in the Litvak house. Hilde, a life-enjoying hedonist, and
Gerson, an idealist hoping for the prosperity of his country, are in favor of the reparation, whereas Frieda, who is more
ascetic objects to it vigorously. Gerson is supposed to vote in the Knesset regarding the German reparation. He is allowed to
vote according to his own conscience as he is a Holocaust survivor. Of the record, his party demands him to vote against it
but he intends to vote in its favor!
A week before the vote, David Murmelstein, a petty but ambitious politico, discovers Hilde and Frieda’s dreadful secret. He
has learnt together with the threesome in high school in Berlin, and knows for a fact that Hilde Zinger-Litvak is actually
Helena Schmidt. Murmelstein is certain that Frieda is a part of this deception, and no one else but them knows about it.
Motivated to achieve political gain from his party, Murmelstein demands from Hilde-Helena to convince her husband to vote
against the reparation or she will lose the comfortable life she has built for herself and hurt Frieda and Gerson as well!
Hilde-Helena is reluctantly drawn to a vicious cycle in order to prevent the disclosure of this shocking revelation which will
completely destroy her life in addition to those of her loved ones. Hilde-Helena will do everything in her power and stop at
nothing, including lying, blackmailing and even worse to save her life and her dearest. The memories that surge her in the
days filled with madness and despair since Murmelstein’s ultimatum until the reparation vote in the Knesset are memories
from her childhood and youth centering on the inseparable threesome, her pivotal decision to join the SS, and finally the
labor camp where she meets Frieda after years they haven’t seen each other but they are now on the opposite sides: she is a
kitchen inspector and Frieda is a prisoner. For 16.5 months and while greatly risking her own life – she keeps Frieda alive!
When the war ends they refuse to separate again from each other. They know that Helena, their third friend has perished
and Frieda conceives a daring idea. In a crazed but planned move Helena Schmidt, the SS inspector, becomes Hilde Zinger, a
Holocaust survivor. The plan succeeds because Helena has grown up with her Jewish friends, speaks Yiddish, well-familiar
with the Jewish holidays, laws and even cuisine, and most importantly: knows every detail about the deceased Hilda. Their
physical resemblance is striking and they are sure that survivors from their hometown will not be able to tell the difference
between them after so many years.
They arrive to Israel and adjust to their new lives. Frieda concentrates on her career in a law office and Helena-Hilde marries
her beloved Gerson and enjoys life – until Murmelstein’s calamitous ultimatum!
The majority of the plot takes place in Jerusalem during 10 days between the end of December 1951 until January 7th, 1952
with flashbacks to Germany before and during WWII.