Bronstein's Children

(Bronsteins Kinder)

Germany, 1990, 98 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


Hans Bronstein is about to finish secondary school and needs to decide what to do next with his life. But Hans has a difficult time dealing with his authoritarian father and with his sister Elle, who is hospitalized in a mental institution.


One day, Hans goes to his father’s country cottage expecting to meet his girlfriend Martha for a romantic tryst, but instead he finds his father and two other men who are threatening a captive with torture until he confesses his crimes as a former concentration camp guard.


Hans tries to convince his father to simply turn the captive over to the authorities. But when Arno Bronstein refuses, his son also finds himself unwilling to betray his father’s secret. Here the film explores the conflicting aspects of identity and allegiance—Jewish and German, generational, legalistic.


On the one hand, Hans is determined to set out on his adult life without either the advantages or the stigma of being the “son of a Holocaust survivor.” But through the dilemma with his father’s kidnapping and imprisonment of the old Nazi, he is forced to confront the reality of his father’s past for the first time—learning details about his father he had never known or been interested in.


Based on the novel by Jurek Becker.


NOTE: This film is currently only available as part of our non-circulating research collection.


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