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The Restless Conscience
The Restless Conscience
Actor: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Director: Hava Kohav Beller
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2009     1hr 53min

In 1944, 170 German citizens were brought to trial and convicted as participants in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This was not an isolated act, but only the last of more than 20 attempts to overthrow the Nazi Regime....  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Director: Hava Kohav Beller
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Educational, Docurama, Military & War
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/31/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"We were thinking of the many murders committed in Germany a
J from NY | New York | 05/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hava Kohav Beller's Oscar nominated and curiously little known documentary on the resistance to Nazi Germany from within is difficult to watch, at times almost unbearable, but is ultimately a testimony to the
triumph of the human spirit even when it would seem that evil has prevailed entirely.

Though the idea of a German resistance during this time has seemed suspicious to historians and even casual readers of history alike, Beller sets to rest any uncertainty about the existence of the men and women who would risk their lives to put an end to Adolf Hitler's reign of terror.
Trade union leader Julius Leber (who courageously defended the rights of Jewish citizens in a German court in 1933, and was promptly executed for doing so) international lawyer Count Helmuth James von Moltke (who at the risk of his own life travelled outside of Germany to convince the British that mass extermination was taking place), civil servant Adam von Trott zu Solz (who exclaimed in a German street "The maniac is going to do what he wrote in the book!"), Leipzig mayor Dr. Carl Goerdeler (who saved 1600 Jews and was also killed), pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who, on a national radio broadcast in Germany condemned Hitler and became involved in the attempt on his life), and finally Colonel Claus Graf Von Stauffenberg, at long last placed a briefcase bomb next to Hitler.

Though I suppose the blame still lies chiefly on the Germans of that time, this documentary also reveals that if either Churchhill or Chamberlain had listened to Moltke or Goerdeler's direct communications regarding the genocide going on and the active resistance, Hitler probably would have died far earlier than 1945. The British seemed to have to been particularly obtuse when help was needed most. Beller seems to be saying through extensive interviews with Germans and foreign partisan resistance groups, that you can throw a rock and hit someone who is guilty.

Captain Axel von Dem Bussche who, as an 18-year-old soldier, witnessed some 1,800 executions in two days and then joined the resistance, aptly describes what it is like to witness such thing as he feverishly smokes cigarette after cigarette: "You can't believe it," he says. "You've got to open some new dimension of understanding . . . It's the moment when the bottom of everything falls out. And it is my guilt for being alive today." The trauma would soon turn to seething rage against the Third Reich, and he would volunteer to blow himself up right next to Hitler. The uniform that would be used to conceal the bomb was incinerated during a bombing by none other than the British, the plot once again foiled. Numerous attempts. No results.

Finally, Claus Von Stauffenberg would sacrifice his own life, his family's life, and the lives of thousands with his July 20, 1944 briefcase bomb. You simply can't blame the conspirators, it seems. Luck was against them.

At the end of the film we see Fabian Von Schlabendorff, a civil servant who had opposed the Nazi regime from 1933, standing in a court full of SS officers and Hitler's fanatic judge, Roland Freisler. He is an inoffensive, small man with glasses and cropped black hair. A real tape of another kangaroo trial for the conspirators, Freisler barks: "Why would you do such an insane thing, what were you thinking?" Pausing, Schlabendorff replies that he was thinking of the mass murder committed in Germany. Freisler abuses him, and then asks: "Are you breaking apart?" Perhaps the whole documentary is embodied in his quiet, determined response: "No".

World War II German Resistance
P. von Holzing | U.K. | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is essential viewing (particularly for those born since 1960)
to gain insight into the rarely mentioned german resistance movement.

Contains authentic interviews with participants and/or close relatives
of those who took part.

Well worth viewing from a historical point of view, this film also
provokes discussion about the world 60 years later"
German Resistance To The Nazis
B. Saines | Bklyn, N.Y. | 02/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This an outanding film about those Germans willing to risk their lives against Hitler and the Nazis. It is very fascinating from beginning to end. It includes comments by those who were part of the Resistance and were able survive those dangerous times. If your interested in the subject, then this is a must!"
Anti-Nazi Resistance Inside Germany
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 04/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Restless Conscience" is an Academy Award nominee that explores the motivating principles and activities of the anti-Nazi resistance inside Germany from 1933 to 1945. The film is a moving portrayal of individual destinies, focusing on the moral and political evolution of people whose conscience was at odds with an overpowering national consensus. Filmmaker Hava Kohav Beller points out that in 1944, at least 170 German citizens were convicted as participants in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This was the last of more than 20 attempts to overthrow the Nazi regime. "The Restless Conscience" highlights the tension between individual responsibility to a personal ethical code and fear of a tyrannical political system. Bonus extras include an interview with the filmmaker."