The Downfall of Berlin: Anonyma

Synopsis: A nameless woman keeps a diary as the Russians invade Berlin in the spring of 1945. She is in her early 30s, a patriotic journalist with international credentials; her husband, Gerd, a writer, is an officer at the Russian front. She speaks Russian and, for a day or two after the invasion, keeps herself safe, but then the rapes begin. She resolves to control her fate and invites the attentions of a Russian major, Andreij Rybkin. He becomes her protector of sorts subject to pressures from his own fellow soldiers and officers. Dramas play out in the block of flats where she lives. Is she an amoral traitor? She asks, "How do we go on living?" And what of Gerd and her diary?
Director(s): Max Färberböck
Production: Strand Releasing
  1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
131 min



A Woman in Berlin

(woman's voice)

Who would've thought that?

On April 16th 1945 the time had come.

The Russian army had surrounded Berlin

and now they were heading

towards the Reichstag.

On this day,

you could see the sun behind the clouds,

and the smell of lilac

wafted through all the smoke.

How to start?

How to find the right words?

I've been a journalist,

I've traveled 12 countries.

Been living in Moscow,

Paris and London.

I really liked to stay

in Paris and London.

I decided to come back.

I wanted to be part of it.

My name doesn't matter.

I am one of the many who fervently

believed in our country's future.


Only weak persons had doubts.

(Gerd) Warsaw, Brussels, Paris.

We're always winning.

The Russians don't have a leader.

When they finally come to their senses,

we are already knocking at

their front door in Moscow.

Pardon our pushiness,

but it's war after all.

Gerd hated railway stations.

When he left, the sound of

his boots filled the house.

We were certain to do the right thing,

we breathed the same

air as everybody else.

We were part of this.

And then he takes off my coat and says:

The Russians have no idea

what's coming towards them.

So we were heading towards the

Sorbonne and chatting away in French.

He thought that I was one

of those tall blond Swedes.

Then I made a double step

to match my stride to his.

That's when he stopped and said:

"Ah, a daughter of the Fuhrer"

That was the end of the acquaintance.

What a pity.

Hold on. I... I'd like to...

Stop the music, please.

I would like for us all

to share this moment,

this wonderful evening,

with our husbands

who are stationed

somewhere all over Europe.


Get lost!

Run, run!

Get away!

(woman) Go away!

(officer) Houses on the right. Fan out.


(Soldiers singing)

Come here, damn it!


Mummy, where are you?

Come on. Hurry.


Away. Go away.

Open fire, reload grenade.

...and fire!



- Wait for me.

- Watch out! Heads down.

- There you are.

- Stop! Wait for me.

Watch out!



No uniforms, no weapons,

or it's martial law.



Felix, where are you?


- Where the hell is he? Felix?

- Not a single order.

No messages, nothing at all.

Nobody gives a sh*t about us.

Felix? Lenchen, Lenchen?

Where are you, damn it?

In Wedding district, they are already

showing their toddlers to the Russians.

Russian pigs.

That were the book dealers.

They sometimes speak French.

And that's the pharmacist's widow.

Her husband once cured Minister

Hindenburg's headache.

That's over.

Now you step on the face

and the arms of a dead woman

only to get a glass of jelly.

That's the quiet Mrs. Binder.

Musician. Her husband is MIA.


Can someone help?

She is suffocating.

Look at me. Look at me!

I will write all of this down,

I will report it.

Gerd, and you shall read it.

May I offer you something?

Thank you.

From Silesia.

She won't make it.


Go, go, go!

Go down there, quick!

- Mummy?

- Don't be afraid, I am here.

They're coming.



(Announcement) Attention, attention.

To all the residents of this street.

All fire arms have to be

turned in immediately.

This is the last warning.

Attention, attention.

This is the last warning.




All the way upstairs!

Go away! Not now!



I... I have...

(whispering in Russian)


Comrade Colonel.

The troops have almost

reached Potsdam station.

But the order was to go towards

the government district!


Comrade Colonel.

We'll stay here.

Major! I thought we were

going to the Reichstag.

No Reichstag? But why not,

we are so close.

Screw it,

we are not staying here!

That's an order!


Secure our flank!





I said:



They will see soon enough.

Anybody got weapons?

Hand them over.

Get out!

One person at a time.

Get out, all of you!

Move it!

- Russian filth!

- Up!

What... do you want?







War kaput.


Come! Eat.

War kaput, woman.

Come on.

No fear.

No fear.

We will not die here.

Bravo, come, come.

Don't be afraid.


Don't shiver!

Good! Come.

Hey, cuties!

Come over here.

You be nice and you'll

get something to eat.

Potatoes. Very good.

May I?

(soldiers laughing)


Does anybody know

how this thing works?

You, Ukrainian,

do you know it?

There they are,

our Russian liberators.

Full of joy.

It seems they can hardly believe

that they've made it this far.

I know them,

their sandals and villages.

Their rapidly constructed new

buildings they are so proud of.


They are without any constraints.

Don't move,


Leave her.

Get lost.


Why don't you use urine?

That's enough!

No, seriously...

Your urine is much too old.

Back in Leningrad, I put my general

back on his feet with urine...

You storyteller!

It's true.

What are they doing?



Have you husband?

A husband and two children.

Come anyway.

Quick, quick!

(woman) Let me through! Let me through!

No, no, you pigs.

You pigs! No!

- You don't belong here.

- I didn't do anything wrong.


- You filthy pigs, leave me alone!

(man) Come on, don't be so prude.

Most fellow countrymen adeptly

saved their own hides.

The girl from Silesia was easy prey.


Mrs. Hitler.

You slut! Where to?

To the Fuhrer?

Here. Quick.

Penthouse to the right. Quick! Go!

Take this and go! Go!


You speak Russian.

You can't abandon me like that.


Why are you taking a woman...

who doesn't want you?

Willing women are unclean.

(Door is closed)

Open the door! Open it!

Open the door,

you bastards! Open it!


Not here.

- Where?

- Almost there.

Stop! Stay where you are!

Hey you.

Shoo shoo!


I am looking for

the commanding officer.

What's up?

Are you in charge here?

I... we need help.

Are you in charge here?

There are many in charge here.

Everybody is in charge.

Which one do you want?

Major, sir...

We need your help...

Our men are all healthy and clean.

(car departs)

Mrs. Hitler.

Our country is finished.

Gerd, do you remember your first words?

"Give me 30 minutes and you will

never want to leave me again."

God almighty.

- That is the back corridor.

- The widow offered me a place to stay.

She took me by the hand and just led me

inside her undestroyed apartment.

- I gratefully accepted the offer.

- You can stay here for a while.

Moving places was easy: a blouse,

a few books and notebooks.

- You are welcome to stay.

- Thank you, I'll take your offer.

(Russians singing)

Take good care of yourself.

In spite of everything, it would have

been good to have a closer look around.

But then, we never know everything,

so that's how the story continued.

I guess it has been

really nice here once.

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Max Färberböck

Max Färberböck (born 22 September 1950) is a German film director and writer. He was born in Brannenburg, Bavaria. He began his career at theaters in Buenos Aires and in Italy. He later studied at the University of Television and Film in Munich and worked for Constantin Film and as an assistant for Peter Zadek at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. After producing several plays at theaters in Hamburg, Heidelberg and Cologne, he began to write and direct episodes for the TV series Der Fahnder. Later Färberböck produced several TV films, before making his first feature film, Aimée & Jaguar (1998). It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also nominated for the Golden Bear at 49th Berlin International Film Festival.He directed A Woman in Berlin (2008), based on the memoir by the same name. A new edition had been published in Germany in 2003, two years after the author's death. This controversial work dealt with the experiences of women in Berlin in the last weeks of the Battle of Berlin and occupation by Soviet Union troops at the end of World War II. The author is reputed to be the late journalist, Marta Hillers, who died in 2001. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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