MovieChat Forums > The German Doctor (2013) Discussion > The "official" description is all wrong

The "official" description is all wrong


The description provided by IMDB at the begining of the page is pretty misleading. The film is NOT a true story: Mengele lived legally in Argentina for some years, but he never left Buenos Aires, more than 1,000 kilometres from Bariloche. He worked in minor jobs, as clerk, janitor, etc., and he was denounced for ilegally performing medicine (i.e., perfoming abortions). But the whole "genetic experiment" story came out of Lucía Puenzo's imagination.
Also, I never got the feeling that Lilith was in love with him, she was perhaps fascinated and intrigued by his knowledge, but she didn't struck me as having feelings for him.

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The description provided by IMDB at the begining of the page is pretty misleading. The film is NOT a true story: Mengele lived legally in Argentina for some years, but he never left Buenos Aires, more than 1,000 kilometres from Bariloche. He worked in minor jobs, as clerk, janitor, etc., and he was denounced for ilegally performing medicine (i.e., perfoming abortions). But the whole "genetic experiment" story came out of Lucía Puenzo's imagination.
Also, I never got the feeling that Lilith was in love with him, she was perhaps fascinated and intrigued by his knowledge, but she didn't struck me as having feelings for him.

Well, it's not an "official" description, it's just what IMDb has. I am curious how you are so certain that Mengele never left Buenos Aires, considering the media reports that Mengele did travel to Bariloche in 1960.

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Of coure it is not an official description, in the sense of having been produced by a government agency, that is why I used quotation marks. But it is the first thing that you read, produced by IMDB, not by a random user who is expressing his or her opinion. In that sense, it is backed by the site.
I am not that certain, I am just saying that there is no proof that he ever was in Bariloche. The shocking uniqueness of Mengele's case is that, unilke Priebke or Eichmann, he entered Argentina legally, with documents provided by West Germany, and lived there under his real name. He even went back to Europe in the fifties and visited his son. And when he got scared after Eichmann was kidnapped, he just drove his car to Paraguay and crossed the border legally, showing his German passport. There was no need to used a secret airplane in a lake in the South. Of course, the latter version adds a lot of flavour to Puenzo's fiction.
Media versions were related at the time with the very unclear death of Nora Eldoc, whose identity was suspicious and there were rumours of her being a Nazi hunter. Fifty years later, she has not been identified as such; I believed if she was really working with any intelligence agency, she would have been considered a hero.

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The actual official description says it's a novel. http://thegermandoctorfilm.com

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That is pretty irresponsible ... to say this is a true story. But then again IMDB ... like Yelp ... has gotten so big that we have to question their motives and honesty.

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It was an intriguing premise, but the more I delved into the film's background following a showing by BBC4 (UK), the more you realise that there are elements of fiction such as the family with whom Gregor/Mengele insinuates himself.

I thought it was a fascinating story. I think the director/writer, Puenzo, linked a tale in the present (1960) with the past (Nazi racial theory & genetic experiments) well, and it was a story about science: its bounds & limits. When does it stray into something much more sinister? It handled an awkward subject, how can one portray a Nazi war criminal in a detached manner? I thought the film worked well, when it played with our expectations. Does Mengele ever genuinely intend to help others or does the cold rational/methodological side of his scientific personality, the one that could experiment on live human beings, (in particular twins/children), always seep through especially towards the film's finale, the birth of the twins:& the fact that Mengele allows Lilith to suffer following the increased dosage suggests he will always put scientific 'progress', or his version of it, ahead of humanity.

So the film is an interesting imaginative interpretation of the facts (the subplot about the dolls, standardisation and uniformity and Lilith's father who acts as a counterbalance, protective of his daughter and of 'her uniqueness') :but I do agree with the OP that it is perhaps straying too far to say that it is a literal true story: the elements that are true are that Mengele was in Argentina (background), the trail went cold for a few months with the possibility that he was somewhere like Bariloche; the Nazi sympathisers, at the school (the bullying), the neighbouring surgery and local community probably echo the support networks that could allow Nazi war criminals to survive & stay underground.

I thought the story skilfully fused the narrative elements with known history, the story seen through the eyes initially of a child, Lilith. The forensic detail with which Mengele records facts in his notebooks hark back to his sinister background & past. I also read that Mengele would murder twins by injecting chloroform into the heart and we are reminded of the mechanical dolls with their beating hearts.

Is that a comment, too, on Mengele? A cold scientific automaton recording facts rather than a human being? The dolls (Hans Bellmer) become his grotesque vision of purity (Sonnenmensch).

Yet as Puenzo points out in one interview, it is ironic that a Nazi doctor ended up seeking refuge on a continent with people whose blood has been mixed so much.

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