Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe

Synopsis: In 1936, Stefan Zweig, the illustrious author of " 24 Hours of a Woman's Life" and "Letter from an Unknown Woman", leaves Austria for South America. Being Jewish and hating the inhumanity that prevails in Germany while threatening his native country, he has decided to escape the specter of Nazism. Brazil is his chosen country. He is immediately hailed at Rio de Janeiro's Jockey Club by the local jet set. But whereas expect him to take sides and to make a statement against Hitler and his clique, Zweig refuses to renounce his humanity and to indulge in over-simplification: he just cannot condemn Germany and its people. On the other hand, the great writer literally falls in love with Brazil and undertakes the writing of a new book about the country. Accompanied by Lotte, his second wife he explores different regions, including the most remote ones...
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Maria Schrader
Production: First Run Features
  5 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

Very elegant.

Nobody would think you're working here.

You look like a madame.



Then off you go, my lovelies.


Let's see where he's sitting.

Here he is.

- Good afternoon.

Could we get a table for the books?

Bring a table, please.

Who is she again?

- She's that...

That writer...

Oh, I know.

Her husband is the founder of Sul America.


- Lagorotti, that's it.

He's sitting here.

...still too dependent

on the global market price for coffee.

When it rises, Brazil flourishes.

But when it falls...

- I see.


- Is it to your liking?

You know what Vespucci said

when he arrived in the Bay of Rio in 1502?


"f paradise exists on Earth,

it cannot be very far from here."

Very good.

Dr. Zweig. Please...

A photograph with Minister Soares

and our president's daughters.

With pleasure.

Thank you.

Monsieur Zweig, could you sign the book?

- Of course.

By the way, tomorrow I will have

the pleasure of meeting your father.

Oh yes.

You are meeting our president?

I hope he behaves himself.

Mr. Zweig, perhaps the two Miss Vargases

would also like a book.

- Of course.

Let's find you a book.

- Lovely.

Very kind of you.

- My pleasure.

How are you?

May I introduce you to the Chairman

Monsieur de Souza,

I had the pleasure yesterday.

The pleasure is all mine.

And we will see each other in Buenos Aires.

My wife.

- Nice to meet you.

My pleasure.

Claudio, how are you?

See you later.

- Thank you.

Would you sign mine too?

- Of course.

Thank you.

- My pleasure.

Your attention please.

On behalf

of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry,

and in honor of our guest,

Dr. Stefan Zweig,

a warm welcome to you all.

Your works arrived here long before you.

They can be found

on display in our bookshops,

on the shelves of our living rooms

and especially in our hearts.

That is the only explanation

for the more than 2,000 people

who attended your reading yesterday.

Our thanks go to your publisher,

Mr. Abraho Koogan,

who persuaded you to stop by

on your way to the writer's congress

in Buenos Aires.

But I won't keep you any longer,

we're all hungry,

and the horse race

is not going to wait for us.

Esteemed Foreign Minister Soares,

ladies and gentlemen.

As some of you may know,

I no longer live in my homeland.

I am no longer able

to publish my books in Germany,

and it seems to me

that during these last days in Brazil,

I have encountered more friendship

than normally in years.


Thank you very much.


But apart from the personal joys

your country has given me,

apart from its beauty,

its daring architecture...

there is an even more powerful impression

that I would like to share with you.

Every nation, in every generation,

and therefore ours too,

must find an answer to

the most simple and vital question of all:

How do we achieve a peaceful coexistence

in today's world

despite all our differences

in race,


and religion?

And it seems to me

that Brazil has found an answer,

even though not only its vegetation

but also its population

are more diverse in color than in Europe.

Since my arrival in the Bay of Rio,

it has seemed to me

like a vision of the future.

Thank you.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

September 1936

Excuse me.

Make way, please.

Sefior Zweig?

Excuse me, gentlemen.

Sefior, would you sign my book?

Sefior Zweig, a photograph, please.

A Photograph.

Sefior Zweig, please look this way,

at the camera.

A photograph, please.

Once more, please.

Monsieur Zweig, this way, please.

Mr. Brainin!

- I was afraid you'd forgotten me.

My colleagues are upstairs.

I'll have your coat checked.

- Thank you.

How is your father?

- Fine.

He's writing and translating.

His work means more than his grandchildren.

Excellent. How old is he?


- Yes.

All I can say is: Belarus.

He will outlive us all.

This way, please.

Dr. Zweig...

Ah, Mr. Leivick.

Good morning.

- How do you do?

Sefior Oppenheimer.

Sefior Sadler, yes?

- I'm impressed.

Adolfo Hirsch,

also a founder of the Refugee Aid.

I am honored.

I am honored to help.

Your work

is far more important than ours, right?

Like the interview

Mr. Brainin needs to whisk me away to.

Off you go.

See you at your reading tomorrow evening.

Looking forward to it.

Promote it well so we can really cash in!

- You jest. We sold out long ago.

Did you know that,

aside from Palestine and the USA,

Buenos Aires is taking in

the most emigrants?

Because you can still enter

without going through transit countries.

So, here we are.


Please, take a seat here.

My pleasure.

- Sefior Zweig.

The pleasure is all mine.

Martinez, La Prensa.

- Nice to meet you.

Water, Dr. Zweig?

Coffee, please.


A single-lens reflex camera.

And where does it come from?


You've also been to Germany?

- No.

Just to a good school. May I?

So we can speak German?

- My German ends with the menu.

Then let's get started, gentlemen.

Dr. Zweig, what political significance

can a writers' congress have?

In these ten days 80 writers

from 50 nations will come together.

An enormous intellectual potential.

Even if the PEN Club is a small

organization in the material sense.

Compare us to a tiny passenger ship

weaving between battleships,

destroyers and aircraft carriers

across the Seven Seas.

But the flag that we raise

is of immense significance.

It stands for freedom of thought,

freedom of expression,

and international understanding.

It is the white flag.

And today, more than ever,

I am its loyal bearer.

On August 26th...

- Excuse me.

Sefior Zweig,

you and your colleague Emil Ludwig

are the only representatives

of German literature at this congress.

What do you think

about the latest events in Germany?

I haven't been to Germany for four years.

But you follow the events,

you're in contact

with people who left Germany?

People who have left Germany

or only go to visit

cannot really know what's happening there.

Whether new alliances are forming

that may turn everything upside down.

I just spent ten days in Brazil.

I couldn't say if the people

are satisfied with President Vargas,

even if that was my impression.

You can't compare Hitler's Germany

with a moderate government...


Calm down. One at a time.

Mr. Brainin, please.

The 8th Nuremberg Rally begins today.

I know that, Mr. Brainin.

What is your question?

Ten days ago, on August 26th,

it was announced

that military service in Germany

will be increased to two years.

They waited until the end of the Olympics

to make the announcement.

Certain conclusions can be drawn from this.

That is correct.

What conclusions do you draw, Dr. Zweig?

Predictions about Germany are impossible.

Every prediction

has turned out to be false.

I will not make any predictions.

Dr. Zweig,

I love your works,

and I love the German language.

Would you agree when I say

that Germany is preparing for war

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Maria Schrader

Maria Schrader (born 27 September 1965) is a German actress, screenwriter, and director. She directed the award winning 2007 film Love Life that was based on a novel by Zeruya Shalev. She also starred in the German international hit TV series Deutschland 83 (2015), known for being the first German-language series broadcast on US television. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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