When Stanley Kubrick died in March 1999 during the post-production of his final film, "Eyes Wide Shut," he left behind several pet projects he had been working on for decades. These included a science-fiction riff on "Pinocchio" (later finished by Steven Spielberg as "A.I."), a historical biopic of the life of Napoleon and a Holocaust project with the working title "Aryan Papers."
Volker Schlaandorff, born in Germany in the fateful year 1939, has explored his country's dark history in such films as "The Tin Drum," "The Ogre" and "The Legend of Rita."
Now he returns to the Nazi era in the intense "The Ninth Day," a film mature enough to view the Shoah from a different perspective and to confront the viewer with complex questions of morality, religion and character.
Based broadly on the wartime diary of a Luxembourg priest, the Rev. Jean Bernard, the films opens in a wintry Dachau, where three special barracks have been set aside for clergymen. The vast majority of the occupants are Catholic, but there also are some Protestant and Greek Orthodox ministers who have refused to toe the Nazi line.
When U.S. District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram gave the green light on Wednesday, July 25 for Austria to start paying out $450 million to World War II forced and slave laborers, she had special words of praise for Walter Zifkin.
Jews who worked as slave laborers during the Nazi era are one step closer to receiving some measure of compensation for their ordeal.
After months of torturous negotiations, an agreement has been reached to establish a $5.2 billion fund for these victims of the Holocaust, according to several lawyers and Jewish officials involved in the talks.