Echoes of the Past (2021) - full transcript

A fictional drama inspired by true events, the "Massacre of Kalavryta" committed by invading German troops in December 1943. When the Greek government launches a multi-billion legal claim for war reparations, Caroline Martin, a high-flying lawyer representing the German government visits Kalavryta to investigate. An unexpected encounter with the last survivor of the tragedy, Nikolaos Andreou, leads them both down a dark chapter of history as the traumatic past comes to light once again, its painful echoes stronger than ever.

- Hi, Greta.
- Where the hell are you?

I'm on my way. Why?

- They filed.
- Oh, fuck. When?

We got a call from the
court clerk.

It has already made
the news.

I thought the Foreign Office
had put a stop

to this nonsense.

Word is, they're filing at the

European Court of Justice
as well.

Combined with the war loan,
it's 160 billion euro claim.

Shit. What did Saub say?

I think he was blindsided.
Well, we all were.

Okay. I'll be there in ten.

Could you please put on
the news?

I spoke to the undersecretary.

We are to deal with the claims
of the civilians...

before the international court.

The justice and finance
ministries are going to handle

the war occupation loan.

Thank God for small favors.

I would hate to be the one
losing 120 billion euro claim.

Does it have legs?

The war loan? Like a centipede.

The Reichsbank orchestrated
the whole plan and seized

every single gold bar from the
vaults of Greece's Central Bank.

The minister wants
to see you. Straight away.

Tell him I'm on my way.

Andrea Ritter, press secretary.

What a mess.

I thought they weren't
going ahead with it.

Any claims related to
German reparations

for crimes committed during
World War II is a hornet's nest.

The Greeks win...

then nothing is going to stop
the Polish, the Belgians,

even the damn Russians...

demanding their own
pound of flesh.

I thought the 2 plus 4 Treaty
of 1990 was

conclusive on the matter.

Well, the treaty does fail to
mention the issue specifically.

So, it's a matter of legal

The preamble does appear to
support our argument, though.

Legally, Germany
no longer existed after 1945.

The Federal Republic
of Germany...

can't be held responsible for
the crimes of another country.


Minister, if I may.

Legalities aside, I'm afraid
this is a complete PR disaster.

The law is firmly on our side.

History shouldn't be used
as bandage.

Damn it,
we paid our dues, long ago.

we still need a proper spin.

Anything that might
potentially shed

different light on the tragedy.

Those files downstairs,
the witness statements,

the role of the rebels played,

of the British Intelligence,

something that we might
have missed.

I believe we have 72 hours
to jump in front of the story.

Even if it's just hot air...

I don't have to remind you,
that even judges read the news.

Anything you need, just ask.

Hey, Andrea, how are you?

How is the best looking
lawyer in Berlin?

Tired. And it's only Monday.

I hope you didn't wait too long.

As you can see,
I'm drowning in paperwork.

- Is it official?
- As of this morning.

Are you taking the lead?

Who else is there?

23 cases before
international tribunals

and I've never
lost a single one.

I know, sweetheart.
But winning this...

I win this one,
and the future is mine.

Remember Russell?
From Mann & Lowe?

Son of a bitch was giving me
the cold shoulder for months.

And today, he called, out of the
blue, talking full partnership.

What are you having? Not hungry?

My stomach is a knot. Nothing
goes down at the moment.

Is it my place tonight?

I'm sorry, I can't.
I'm flying out to Greece,

first thing in the morning.

To Greece?
What are you doing--

I've studied the files,
read the survivor accounts,

looked at the photos.

I need to see for myself.

Good. Who knows?
An epiphany might follow.

Aren't you the optimist?

Say what you like, Counsellor.

But history has the unkindly
way to bite you in the ass

when you least expect it.

Rebels have proven difficult

to break.

they've grown even bolder.

We suspect the British are...

providing them with guns
and intelligence.

Our occupation of Greece
hangs in the balance.

We need to establish a strong
foothold across the peninsula.

And time is not on our side.

The Russian Front
needs reinforcements.

I'm fully aware the situation--

- I need...

a man, willing...

to make all the tough decisions.

It must be hard.

Carrying such a past.

It is in your file.

Major Rudolf Tenner
of the 6th Bavarian Regiment.

It was at the Battle of Morval,
wasn't it?

Whatever happened to him?

No one knows.

The only thing
they found was his dog tags.

Horrible burden.

The sins of the father.

A deserter puts such a stain
on a family's good name.

I hear you are an ambitious man.

Play your cards right...

the brass back in Berlin...

is bound to notice.

We know you're hiding
in the mountains, but where?


Do you think it would
be possible

to speak to some of
the survivors?

I'm afraid there is
no one left anymore.

Most of them are either dead

or emigrated to
Europe and America...

a long time ago.

I was hoping I could get
a first hand account.

Maybe Nicolas Andreou
can help you.

Last time I heard,
he was back from London.

Was Mr Andreou...

Yes, he was.

Poor man. Was only a boy.

Just make sure you write
a good article.

The world needs to know.

You carry any weapons?






Pick it up.

You can go.

What are you doing?

What's wrong with you?

Do you want
to be court-martialed?

Where did you find
that old thing?

I'm surprised it's still here.

How come I've never heard
of the Austrian before?

The Austrian?

There are about 14 witness
accounts in this dossier

that mention--

Yes, yes, I know.

Officially he's considered
a mere legend.

There are only a handful
of accounts

that claim his existence.

And they are far from clear.

In fact, this dossier,
is all there is.

Has anyone ever tried
to find out?

An Austrian came once,
claiming to be him,

but he turned out to be a fraud.

As I said, no one really accepts
the veracity of these accounts.

So they're not part of any
official record.

The Austrian is considered by
many a very polarizing figure.

Listen, I want you
to look up something for me.

You need to access the
Ministry of Defense's database.

Look for any Austrians
who served in the

117th Jaeger Division.

Anything you can find.


How is that related?

I don't know just yet.

I stumbled upon some
old files, witness accounts.

Call me as soon as you
have something.


And go home.

I'm Commandant Tenner
of the 117th Jaeger Division,

and the officer is
Lieutenant Bruckmann,

my personal secretary.

I regret the inconvenience,
but we will try to cause

as little disruption to your
lives as possible,

I assure you.

It is only for a few days.

Do we have a choice?

No, I'm afraid you don't.

A number of houses are

for the housing of
Wehrmacht officers.

Wish you all a good night.

They're chocolates from Germany.

It's very good.


Thank you.

Good morning.

What were you doing
out in the garden so early?


Sit with me.

Sit with me, little man.

Now, do you like magic?

Me too.

- Good morning, commandant.
- Good morning.

I hope you had a pleasant night.

We have been on the move
for two months straight, so...

a good bed is always
a much appreciated luxury.


Now, pick a card.

Give it one.

For good luck.

The 33rd battalion
found 78 of our men

at the bottom of the gorge.

- When?
- Dawn.


Has General Le Suire
been informed?

Yes, commandant.

Bruckmann, take care
of my things.

Mr Andreou?

Mr Andreou?

Uhh, I'm afraid
I don't speak Greek.

Oh! Um, Mr Andreou is being
given his chemo treatment.

He should be back soon.

Thank you.

It appears that Mr Andreou left.
Against doctor's orders.


78 lives.

78 of my men.

This is a direct challenge
to our authority

and it can't go unanswered.

Most of the division has been
mobilized, General.

The troops are ready.

A man's soul...

is always stained
by the color of his actions.

There's no escaping that.
Even in war.

"Unternehmen Kalavryta".

Thank you.

Come on, keep moving.

Hey, come on!

Go on.

Keep moving.

Quick, quick.
Go, go, go!

Come on!
Quick. To the right. Go!

Move! Come on. Move! Get inside!

Go. Go, go

Go, go, go.
Come on. I said, move.

Theyre just boys, please!

They're just boys.

Come on. Right, right.

Go. Left, right. Go. Move.

Come on,
left, right! Go, go, go!



500 men were executed...

with machine guns that day.

64 of them mere children.

I have lived with these memories
for so long, they have become...

become my scars.

Make sure the structure
is burned to the ground.

Yes, commandant.

Oh, my God.


Faster. Faster.

On the top of
the mountain. Form a line.


- Come on.
- Move, move!

On the top of the hill.

On the top of
the hill. Form lines.

- Faster.
- Come on! Everybody.

Form lines and turn around!
Come on.

Everybody turns around.

Come on.

Come on, turn around.

Move. Come on.


I made a vow that day to my

dead father and brother.

That I would not rest
until I faced...

the man responsible.

That one day I would look into
the eyes of commandant Tenner.

And demand justice.

All those years of life...

and the best I can offer
is that history.

That unique, solitary history...

each one of us owns,
since birth.

That very part of...

of our past repeats itself
over and over...

before the eyes of blind men.

I better leave you.

No one cares about
the damn money.

The reparations.

It's not at all about that.
It was never about that.

Money these days is,
our history is...

Is not allowed to forget.

To let go.

May I ask you one
last question?


What happened to your vow?

Did you find
commandant Tenner?


I... I tried for 30 odd years.

I begged and I pleaded.

It's all classified, they said.

No one cares. And I...

I was just a grieving kid.

What the hell did I know?

He's probably long dead by now.


We never got to finish it.

Take it, please.

For your records.

To remember us both.

How could one love life if
there were no childhood in it?

Thank you.

Could you please send up
a pack of cigarettes?

Anything will do.
Thank you.

It's me.

I was hoping you would call me.

Are you still at the university?

I have all those
term papers due tomorrow.

- How are you?
- I've been better.

Not what you expected?

- Mmm.
- So, what did you find?

Remember that saying
about the abyss?

When you gaze long into an
abyss, the abyss--

The abyss also gazes into you.

That's how I feel.

I should have been there
with you.

I can still come,
if you need me.

No, no. It's okay.
I'm flying out tomorrow, anyway.

Are you coming back?

I don't know yet.

It's getting late.

Then you should get some sleep.


Andrea Foss?

No one has called me
that for a long time.

I am Andrea Weiss now.

I am Caroline Martin.

A lawyer for the German
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The German Ministry of...

What is this regarding?

I'm here about your husband,
Fredrick Braun.

- We better go inside.
- Yeah.

The one on the top
is the last one he sent.

A few days before...

He was...

a wonderful man.


he hated the Nazis...

and all they stood for.

When he was conscripted...

our hearts sank.

We've just gotten married.

But he had no choice.


to become a refugee,
a fugitive...

flee to Switzerland,
as did many of his friends.

Why didn't he?

For me.

I had...

my infirm mother to look after.
I could not follow him.

I begged him.

I... I.. begged him.

He would not listen.

He wouldn't leave me behind.

My poor Friedrich.

Would you excuse me, please?

I'm so sorry if...

The man on the right,
Nicolas Andreou,

is alive because of Fredrick.

He was in the school
with his mother.

If it wasn't for your husband...

Thank you.

Thank you.

We are way past midnight and

we need an angle for the press,

to spin the hell out of
the shitstorm.

What happened to the need
you mentioned?

The good German?

Caroline? Are you still there?

Yes, Ritter. I'm still here.

Stop messing
around and get on the case.

- I will.
- Good.

I feel strongly

that continuing this course
of action

would be a mistake...

and dishonor the memory of the
innocent people

who died that day.

It is imperative
for the German state...

to show its citizens

that true justice doesn't
fade away with time...

and that humanity
will always prevail.

For these reasons...

and in good conscience...

I feel compelled to
tender my resignation,

effective immediately.


Caroline Martin.