An Iron Box

In 1985, the Austrian politician Friedhelm Frischenschlager caused a scandal by welcoming at the airport in Vienna, the former SS officer and war criminal Walter Reder who was returning after serving a long prison sentence in Italy. Reder was the key figure in connection with a series of massacres on civilians carried out by German troops on their retreat through northern Italy in 1944. Among the members of Reder´s SS-formation was Olaf Jürgenssen, who served as a medic. On the side, he also took numerous photographs, of which a few prints were stored in an iron box. Jürgenssen´s grandson, Nils Olger, found the negatives in his grandfather´s estate. The filmmaker used this family inheritance as an occasion for a journey on the tracks of his grandfather. The journey is likewise one through the last years of World War II, from Hungary to Italy, and finally back to Austria, where Jürgenssen was ultimately de-nazified, married, and began a successful career as a doctor. The photographic negatives serve Olger as a sign and starting point. He compares landscapes and buildings from back then and today, and he engages in conversation with people who are still able to remember the events. The photographs in the iron box contain a suggestion of distance, which the observer, born at a later point in time, attempts to breach through research and contemplation. In a video interview, which Olger carried out with his grandfather shortly before the elder man´s death, Jürgenssen appears defensive and claims to have had nothing to do with the Germans´ crimes. In his calm film, which offers an example, in the best sense, of remembrance politics, Olger draws a pointed conclusion: "What will I remember about my grandfather? Negatives." (Bert Rebhandl)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt)

Orig. Title
Eine eiserne Kassette
Year
2018
Countries
Austria, Deutschland
Duration
102 min
Director
Nils Olger
Category
Documentary
Orig. Language
Various
Downloads
An Iron Box (Image)
Credits
Director
Nils Olger
Script
Nils Olger
Cinematography
Thomas Marschall, Nils Olger, Juri Schaden
Music
Vinzenz Schwab
Editing
Nils Olger
Sound
Vinzenz Schwab
Sound Mastering
Oliver Brunbauer
Speaker
Nils Olger, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Katharina Maly
Production
Nils Olger
Participant
Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Eliseo Federici, Egidia Giuntoni, Andrea Quartieri, Ingeborg Jürgenssen, Olaf Johann Oskar Jürgenssen, Giorgio Mori, Roberto Oligeri, Carlo Gentile, Celso Battaglia
Supported by
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Theodor Körner Fonds , Wien Kultur
Available Formats
DCP 2K
Format of Picture
16:9
Format of Sound
stereo
Picture Frequency
25 fps
Format of Color
colour, b/w
Festivals (Selection)
2018
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
2019
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Freistadt - Festival Der Neue Heimatfilm
Wien - Jüdisches Filmfestival
Hamburg - Filmfest