Categories: Film

The People vs. Fritz Bauer


With his back to the camera, a man sits down in a room filled with shadows. He speaks into a tape recorder — plainly and proudly — about his role in the genocide of European Jews during World War II. This is the man that Hannah Arendt famously described as manifesting the “banality of evil”: Adolf Eichmann. The People vs. Fritz Bauer, however, concerns itself with his unknown nemesis, Fritz Bauer, the German attorney general who doggedly pursued Eichmann’s extradition in the late 1950s. As Burghart Klaußner plays him, Bauer was an admirable if brusque man with an unwavering commitment toward bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. That he was a closeted gay man — homosexuality was illegal in West Germany until 1969 — as well as Jewish, he had to negotiate office politics with former members of the Nazi party, complicating an already daunting job. Though decades have passed since Arendt’s character study was published, Lars Kraume has directed, if obversely, a companion piece. Largely procedural, the narrative is more than a mere depiction of, what might be called, the “banality of a bureaucrat.” Instead, Kraume and Klaußner patiently punctuate the plot with enough of Bauer’s personal foibles that a portrait of the prosecutor emerges as a rare, if gruff, bird. From the wreckage wrought by the war, Fritz Bauer’s moral compass remained reliably intact.

Jeffrey Edalatpour

Published by
Jeffrey Edalatpour
Tags: Adolf Eichmann Burghard Klaußner Film Fritz Bauer Hannah Arendt homosexuality judaism Lars Kraume Nazis the banality of evil The Holocaust war criminals World War II

Recent Posts

  • All Shook Down
  • Music

Never Dead, King Tuff is More Alive Than Ever Now

Kyle Thomas, a.k.a., King Tuff, has been playing a glorified version of scuzzy garage rock for more than a decade…

15 hours ago
  • Comedy
  • Culture
  • The Exhibitionist

Clusterfest Marred by Logistical Blunders

In the aftermath of Saturday’s logistical nightmare, everyone seemed to have a theory as to what went wrong.  Was it…

16 hours ago
  • News

Mayor Launches Task Force to Rethink Muni

Mayor London Breed and a couple of supervisors are flexing their limited power over the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency with…

19 hours ago
  • Slideshows

Doxie Con at Douglas Park on Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dachshund and their humans had a meet-up for Doxie-Con at upper Douglas Park in Noe Valley on June 23, 2019…

20 hours ago
  • News
  • Top Stories

Monday Morning Vehicle Collision on Park Presidio Kills One

One of the main roads leading out of the city was shut down for hours Monday morning, as police investigated…

21 hours ago