Unlikely friends in Holocaust tale

2011-09-19 00:00

THE Holocaust has been the subject of countless films, plays, television series and books, but The Timekeepers, written by Dan Clancy and starring Roy Horovitz, Rami Baruch (who alternates with Pinhas Mittelman) and Omer Etzion, provides a whole new perspective on the slaughter of Jews and other ‘undesirables’ by the Nazis during WW2.

Told by Israelis, the narrative reveals an unexpected friendship between a Berlin watchmaker, Benjamin, and a young homosexual, Hans, who find themselves thrown together to mend watches in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Apart from a mutual love for opera, they appear to have little in common. But Hans is sleeping with the enemy and through his “friendship” with Freddy can get information about Benjamin’s wife, Sarah, his daughter, Rebecca, and son, Max. All he wants in return is for Benjamin to teach him enough about mending watches to stop their tyrannical overseer from sending him to the cement mines.

This is by no means an easy friendship, but through it Benjamin learns the fate of his family, and Hans reveals an inner strength that neither he nor his guards knew he possessed.

The Timekeepers is a very personal story, set amid a wider tragedy — a truly touching human drama, which I’m glad I got to see.

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