House of Glass
As the Holocaust rages, Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz is faced with a decision: to continue his diplomatic career or to follow his conscience.
Schindler’s List meets The King’s Speech in a dramatic war story set during the bloody Battle of Budapest.
Feature Film / ca. 100 minutes
A large quantity of well-researched material is available for the development of the screenplay. This research began with the 2014 documentary film Carl Lutz – der vergessene Held (Carl Lutz – The Forgotten Hero) by Daniel von Aarburg (Switzerland). The author has
excellent contacts to Lutz’s family, to contemporary witnesses and their heirs, and he has access to the unique archive of Lutz’s own high-quality films and photographs, which are of great historical interest.
During the Second World War, inconspicuous Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz saves tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from certain death. In a unique act of moral courage, Lutz persuades the “logistician of the Holocaust”, Adolf Eichmann, to allow 8,000 Jews to immigrate to Palestine. Eichmann initially mocks the stammering vice-consul, likening him to Moses leading his people through the Red Sea. But Lutz confronts Eichmann, entering into a philosophical debate on topics such as the existence of God and the nature of evil. To everyone’s surprise, the Führer himself gives the go-ahead for Lutz’s plan.
Without permission from his superiors back in Berne (Switzerland) Lutz invents an ingenious system of safe-conduct passesthat place Jews under the fictive diplomatic protection of neutral Switzerland. Lutz dramatically exceeds the numbers approved by the Führer and even let Zionist Organizations produce forged safe-conduct passes - fraud on such a scale cannot stay hidden from Eichmann for long. Threatening him with drastic punishment if he does not comply, Eichmann forces Lutz to carry out the horrifying task of sorting the genuine safe-conduct passes from the false ones. In the presence of his nemesis, Eichmann, he is forced to play God and decide who will be transported to the death camps and who will be spared. This experience traumatizes Lutz for the rest of his life.
The last year of the war also brings big changes to Lutz’s private life. The pious, married public servant falls in love with Magda, one of his Jewish charges. He makes Magda his housekeeper, and from then on, she lives with her six-year-old daughter Agnes in his home. This secret love does not escape the notice of his brave and loyal wife Gertrud. The bizarre “ménage à trois”comes to a head in the air-raid shelter during the Battle of Budapest, where they live together for eight weeks - only a curtain separates the marital bed and the bed that Magda shares with her child.