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One man explores his German family's past in 'The Flat'

Israeli documentarian Arnon Goldfinger discovers his family's World War II past in the documentary.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / October 26, 2012

Arnon Goldfinger (l.) and Edda von Mildenstein (r.) in the documentary 'The Flat.'

Courtesy of IFC Films

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When the Israeli documentarian Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother died at age 98, he and his family went through her Tel Aviv apartment. They found in her possessions a Nazi propaganda newspaper containing a 1934 article titled “A Nazi in Palestina,” with chummy pictures of the author, Baron von Mildenstein, accompanied by Goldfinger’s German Zionist grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler.

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The repercussions of this discovery are so far-ranging that the movie seems to expand exponentially at each turn of events. Goldfinger attempts to unravel the connection between his grandparents, who fled their beloved Germany during the Holocaust in the 1930s, and this man who, it develops, was Adolf Eichmann’s predecessor in directing anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns under Goebbels. Goldfinger happened upon a story far larger than he must have anticipated. “The Flat” is about the persistence of denial, and of hope. Grade: B+ (Unrated.)

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