Ignatz Bubis mit Interviewpartner

Bubis. The Last Conversation

Germany 1992. In Rostock-Lichtenhagen, the Sunflower House, where mainly Vietnamese live, burns down. Residents applaud and cheer the radical right-wing arsonists. When the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany visits the scene, he can hardly conceal his inner movement. Ignatz Bubis is shocked and shaken by the sheer violence. A local CDU politician thinks that Bubis has no business here; his homeland is Israel, after all.

A few months before his death, Ignatz Bubis gave his last interview in 1999. His life balance is unmistakable: "I have achieved nothing, or almost nothing." The interview with the two journalists Michael Stoessinger and Rafael Seligmann appears in Stern and sparks a heated debate. It becomes a conversation about fear, guilt, Germany and his life as a Jew in Germany. Bubis ponders the power of coincidence and talks about the Germans and their handling of the Holocaust.

To this day, this interview is considered Bubis' legacy. The direct experience of Bubis' disillusionment and his loneliness, they become the starting point of the narrative. For the documentary, a collaboration between hr, rbb, NDR and AVE, the last interview with actor Udo Samel as Ignatz Bubis was staged as simply as impressively. It forms the framework for the documentary. Interviews with Bubis' daughter Naomi in Tel Aviv, with journalists Michael Stoessinger and Rafael Seligmann, with companions - such as Salomon Korn, Michel Friedman and Daniel Cohn-Bendit - create an intimate and comprehensive portrait.

Their memories and carefully selected archive sequences lead back to the time after the Second World War, when Ignatz Bubis established himself as a real estate investor in Frankfurt am Main and was quite soon attacked as a "Jewish speculator," back to the years of his political commitment as a "German citizen of Jewish faith," as a bridge builder, as an admonisher and "moral authority" in the fight against xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

The result is an intense, eloquent approach to a pugnacious, committed German - who did not leave the German society in which he lived alone during his lifetime. He was uncomfortable, who intervened and raised his voice in the face of xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic statements, outcries and radical right-wing election successes.

Author Johanna Behre and director Andreas Morell document the life and work of Ignatz Bubis in tense times. "Bubis - The Last Conversation" is an approach to Ignatz Bubis and an examination of this country. A reflection on arriving and leaving, on belonging and being a stranger. Bubis' balances and prognoses at the time - the hatred and violence - that is also the present: Germany in 2017.

  • Director: Andreas Morell
  • Script: Johanna Behre
  • First Camera: Thomas Frischhut
  • Second Unit: Tobias Albrecht, Tulik Galon
  • Sound: Eduard Jan, Ronen Berger
  • Editing: Melanie Schütze
  • Production Management: André Kotte
  • Editorial Office: Sabine Mieder (hr), Rolf Bergmann (rbb), Marc Brasse (NDR)
  • Editorial Management: Esther Schapira
  • Executive Producer: M. Walid Nakschbandi