HILDE & FRIEDA

  A Script for a Fiction Feature by Orly Rubinshtein Catsap
 

   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.