Shoah film not racist, says writer

By Michal Levertov, March 19, 2008

The man who inspired the Oscar-winning Austrian film The Counterfeiters has denied accusations from the Israeli media that the movie was “antisemitic”. The Counterfeiters, based on the autobiographical book of Holocaust survivor Adolf Burger, tells the story of Jews forced by the Nazis to forge British and American banknotes. However, some leading Israeli film critics have condemned the film as prejudiced.

Maya Pinchasi, from the Achbar Ha’ir magazine, called it a “self- righteous product” that “sins with a concealed antisemitism”. Maariv’s critic Meir Schnitzer described a shower scene, in which “miraculously, water comes out of the tap, not gas”, as a “tiny type of Holocaust denial”. Speaking alongside director Stefan Ruzowitzky at a Tel Aviv press conference, Mr Burger told the JC that the Israeli critics who read antisemitic subtexts in the film are “meshuggener [crazy]”.

Mr Ruzowitzky added: “I was aware that there’s danger in a script in which the main character is an outlaw. “I felt that had I written about flawless people, I would have ended up depicting the Jews as a ‘different race’.”

Last updated: 9:46am, June 3 2008