Café Nagler (2016) - full transcript

The director embarks on a journey to reveal the story behind the legendary Café Nagler, owned by her family during the 1920s in Berlin, and finds that historical truths can be overrated. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
You place a napkin on the tray
it's very important.

The coffee...
oh, it's heavy.

The milk...


Is it very heavy?
-No, it's okay.

No! No, no...
you must always place it this way

So one can always lift it from here,
you see? -Oh...

Everything is planned for comfort

One? Place the teaspoon facing
the other side

Good, alright.

Ah... that's good.

You know what?
You didn't bring dishes for the cake

And that's not right

This is impossible

Every visit to my grandmother, Naomi,

begins with an important,
elaborate ceremony.

The highlight of this ceremony
arrives when the dishes

and stories of Cafe Nagler come out,

reminding me that we come from
a distinguished Berliner lineage.

This plate has a drawing
of Cafe Nagler

Can you see?
This is the building!

These are the dishes my grandmother
brought from Germany

This is the silverware from the cafe
With N for Nagler

They brought it all with them

That's it.
I'm glad it didn't turn black

Yes, it's surprising

I was afraid it will turn black here
from the humidity

The legendary Cafe Nagler -

the hottest, most beautiful,
and wildest Cafe in Berlin of the 1920s.

Here, there you have it

Cafe Nagler at Moritzplatz, Berlin.

Cafe Nagler was located
in the fabulous Moritzplatz.

This is the cafe's interior

look at that chandelier! Here!

This is the ground floor,

where people would have a beer
and hang out

the artists would sing and play

this wasn't the grand restaurant

and here they would walk
up to the grand restaurant

Everybody sat there -
from Einstein to Kafka,

having a gugelhupf for breakfast
and some Absynth at night.

This is another part of the cafe

Oh! And this is their private lives -
this is my grandfather

Rosa and Ignatz Nagler,
Naomi's grandparents,

opened the Cafe in 1908
and ran it for 17 tumultuous years

in Berlin's history.

In 1925, they closed their Cafe,
moved to Palestine,

and began longing.

Cafe Nagler was an establishment

from which the family grew on

Brecht certainly sat there,
and his crowd,

the actors, the writers, etc.

So, for me Cafe Nagler
was always very important

it was very much alive for me

all the dishes I grew up with

even, even our blankets

not to mention in our living room

we had a billiard table brought
from Cafe Nagler

I used to play billiard from the day
i could reach the table

not snooker! Billiard,
real billiard!

My grandmother, who grew up
engulfed in history,

became a documentary filmmaker

and made films
for over forty years.

My whole life I received postcards
from her filming expeditions

around the world -

from a series about the Alhambra Decree

to a journey following
the Kingdom of Khazaria.

I used to brag that my grandmother
is the interviewer behind the camera

in the epic series "Pillar of Fire".

I always wondered why Naomi,
between all the documentaries she's made,

never made a film
about the great Cafe Nagler.


when I worked in television

making films

I wasn't comfortable shoving
my family

and the story of the Naglers,
of Cafe Nagler

in my daily work.

What, Kaplansky is going to make
a film about her grandparent?

It wouldn't work...

Back then, you couldn't, I didn't

You were afraid you would seem
to be bragging?

Yes, that I'm pushy, I'm showing off

why am I pushing myself in?

It's very sad, because people's
identity gets lost this way

a part of the family's history is lost.

Maybe it's not important,
to me it seems important.

In her polite, Yekke manner,

my grandmother made it crystal clear

that she's waiting for me to make
a film about Cafe Nagler.

Armed with the motivation
of five generations of longing,

I packed Cafe Nagler's precious
documents and came to Berlin.

It took me a while to realize

that the place where Cafe Nagler
used to stand

is actually this deserted grove.

But even if I don't have
doors to knock on

or neighbors to chat with,

the Berliners are passionate
about their city's history.

I was certain that between
the ancient files that are strictly kept here

the story of Cafe Nagler
is waiting for me.

So I got to know all
the celebrities of Kreuzberg's past,

read anonymous love letters
dating back a hundred years

and learned all I could about
the promiscuous nightlife of the 1920s.

At the newspaper archive,
after spending days with past news,

suddenly a sale
in Westens Department Store in 1922

started to sound appealing.

The horse Frederick Schmidt
came in 2nd place,

Sale on statues
from the Elizabethan era,

3 skirts for 2 thousand marks,

until 20 pm, don't be late,

Demonstration over the wages
of textile workers,

Lost! A black puppy,

Coffee and strudel
for 5 hundred marks,

Second grade bolts made in Poland,

Women Only -
A subscription to the swimming pool,

Wanted! A nanny for 3 polite children,

This Sunday the whole family
visits the fair at-

September 6th, 1920:

Last night, at Cafe Nagler in Moritzplatz,
Yohan Kaminski,

a 38 year old clerk, jumped up
after a heated argument and fired his gun.

The lady with him,
Frida Schwartz, fell to the floor.

Then, Kaminski aimed the gun
at his head and fired.

I rushed to the police archive

to learn more
about these juicy events.

At the police archives
they truly found my story exciting,

but it turns out they don't keep
90 year old reports.

At the state film archives

they dusted dozens
of ancient newsreels for me.

I saw footage of Berlin
from the early days of cinema,

and Berlin, a burgeoning film capital,
was thoroughly documented.

I was hoping to catch
a few frames of Cafe Nagler,

or even Moritzplatz
on one of the reels.

Finally, there was a moment
where I was certain I had found Cafe Nagler,

flickering on the screen,
glamorous and merry...

Until the caption appeared -
"Cafe Kranzler, 1922"

The next day
that caption continues to haunt me.

Here you can see the sign "Kranzler"

A boutique and at the top
the Cafe Kranzler.

Cafe Kranzler, like Cafe Nagler
was one of a few legendary cafes

in 1920s Berlin

and Fred Riedel knows everything
about those hot locations.

The Romanisches Cafe was that.

At the corner over there was Cafe
of the West around 1900.

On the left side
you can see the Cafe Bauer.

I politely waited till
we reached Cafe Nagler

and got drowned in a list of cafes
and their famous patrons.

Berthold Brecht, Otto Dix, Alfred Doblin,
Gottfried Benn ,George Gross...

When I saw that Herr Riedel
was preparing to finish,

I insisted that we
drive to Moritzplatz.

I don't know anything about Cafe Adler

I only know that you have beautiful eyes.


-What's up?

How are you?

Are you in the middle...
-How's it going?

It's going well
-How's it going, Morzaleh?

It's going well

It's going very well, where are you?

I'm in bed, I'm a bit dizzy today

Oh! What do you feel?

Everything's fine! No, no!
are you filming a lot?

Yes, loads.

What's wrong?
Since when are you not feeling well?

Today, only today, my car broke down
so I went to the garage. -Yes.

when I returned home I felt more
wobbly than usual.

Do dad and Ruti know you were weak?

What? -That you are a bit weak today,
do they know?

No, no, no, no, no...

thank you very much for calling
it's awfully nice of you.

I want to

Good, it makes me very happy

Alright, Nomichke, so, kisses...

Goodbye sweetheart, bye, Morzaleh.

Hello. -Hello.

Hello, my name is Mor,
I come from Israel. -Yeah?

And my fam... Hello.

Hello. -Hello.

My family used to live here
a long time ago.

They lived here?
-Yeah, in this apartment,

and I wonder if it would be okay,
if I could come in?

Yes, come in.
-Yeah? Okay. Thank you!

Just to have a look.

You are welcome to enter.
Would you like to look around?

Yeah, I'd love to see.

Okay. Here's the kitchen.

The kitchen was closed here.

This was the toilet,
which now is our guests' toilet.

This is the original ceiling?

Yes, yes with ornament ceiling.

Thank you.

It's lovely. -Sugar?

We have been living in this apartment
for over 50 years.

Before that a woman
used to lived here for 50 years.

Mrs. Wessels, she was half Jewish

and the only souvenir stands over there -
the Menorah.

We inherited it.

It stood in the corner
on the bookshelf before, too.

My family, who used to live here,

are called Nagler.

So maybe this woman who died
in this apartment,

maybe she was a Nagler also?

I don't know.

You are sure that they lived here
from 1905, the same family?

Yes, always the same family    - Wessels.
Wessels and Bants.

Wessels and Bants.
-Yes, Bants, too.

Mrs. Bants and Mr. wessels. They lived here.


This is 34 Zoolanderstrasse?

No, that is next to us. This is 34a.

It is next to us, after the building.

Your Coffee?

It turns out that like many
other buildings,

like the building of Cafe Nagler,

the house where the Naglers lived
was bombed during the war

and never rebuilt.

And this dump was their home.

Great. So no cafe and no house.



Hi, how are you?

It's going great...
great... really.

Yes, yes, we're getting
a lot of... materials...

We're filming all the time.

Yes, we're...
Actually we're near Moritzplatz now.

Yes, yes, you're right

Okay, kisses, thanks, me too

alright, bye.


Facing all this void

I wanted to see some documents,
dates, photos.

Something real,
something tangible.

This is a letter where they
ask the permission to construct

a wall next to the building,

because during the night
in the cafe there was a lot of noise

and the neighbors were disturbed
by this noise

because the cafe was open
really until the early morning.

So this is the last evidence
of the building, basically.

Yes, so they prolonged it until 1946,

but it must have been bombed before,
between 1942 to 1946...

Because there's nothing...

Yes, nothing left of the building,
there's nothing to be done.

There's nothing to be done.

I have to admit, I've never
heard of Cafe Nagler before.

Can you think of an
explanation for this?

'Cause you've seen the photos and it
looks like a big, impressive place.

Yeah, but I mean...

First and foremost, if you think about
the 1920s and the Golden '20s,

it's not the Moritzplatz,
it's the Kurfurstendamm,

that's where all the new culture,
the new cafe culture,

the intellectuals meet and drink,

where the new drinks come in,

the new tourists come in,
the new drugs come in,

and the Golden '20s happened,
and it's not...


I returned to my room to find
and email From Dr. Kreutzmuller.

"Dear Mor,

"When we met yesterday

I couldn't bring myself to discourage you
in front of the camera.

"However, I do feel that I have to be
frank with you -

"from what information I could gather,

"it appears that Cafe Nagler was a nice,
beautiful neighborhood cafe,

"but no more than that.

"I regret to have to tell you this,

"but I believe it is
the historical truth."

I started thinking about flying home,

but at the last minute

I received information
that might salvage the situation -

someone from the Friends
of Kreuzberg Association

managed to locate an elderly man
from the neighborhood

who spent much of his childhood
in Cafe Nagler.

He remembers Cafe Nagler.
-You're kidding.

And his father even used
to play the piano there at nights.

You don't say.

He remembers your grandparents.
-You're kidding.

Do you mind if I come?

Just for that, no more.

I won't bother you.
Just for half a day.

I'm dying to meet that man,
that's all.

I was worried about Naomi,
the veteran documentarist's arrival

that she'd realize I had virtually
nothing on the cafe.

But when I sat next to her

I realized I got a chance to see
my grandmother as she used to be,

in the role of the interviewer.

Do you have any memories,

about the people in Cafe Nagler?

It was a real meeting point for everyone,
people who knew each other

because they were
a bit more educated.

Authors, actors, musicians...

My father sometimes played
a sitar, and people danced...

Do you have any specific memories
of Ignatz Nagler, or Rosa Nagler,

my grandfather and grandmother?

Of the grandfather I don't,
but of the grandmother - I do,

I don't remember the grandfather.

What memory do you have
of my grandmother?

She was always lovely
to the children.

Always, very nice.

She used to pick me up,

give me pralines, and say:

Go on,
continue fooling around.

This is how it was...

I only know that my entire family
loved going there.

What will we do tomorrow?

Yes, we'll go to Nagler!

To the garden? Or the cafe?
It's all good!

My father played the piano
there often.

I know one song,
"In Rlcksdorf there is music... "

Yes, that too.

I was born in 1928 in Binyamina,

but I know these songs.

Nomichke gave me a strong embrace,

thrilled by the successful interview,

and returned to Israel.

But then I got another phone call
from that member of the Kreuzberg Association.

He asked me to meet him
and Herr Handschke urgently.

He said there is a problem.

But before he started talking,

I couldn't resist squeezing in
another question...

We heard stories that...

that the neighbors complained
that at night there was terrible noise.

Everybody were drunk,
and they used to shout...

The police came by often!
Or, sometimes...

Perhaps one more thing

Cafe Nagler existed in Berlin
between 1908 and 1925

And Mr. Hendschke was born in 1925.

...when he sometimes says, for example

that he used to go with
his father to Cafe Nagler,

it's actually not possible.

In 1925 he was maybe
one year old.

But we understand that his
memories always have some boundaries,

they're always somewhere between
subjective truth and fiction

and sometimes they are how he
would have liked to remember things.

So I'm asking you to understand

it's not certain that this is all real.

But what is real anyway?

We all have our own realities.

I wish for everyone
to live to be 88 like me!

and then 20 more years!

I will live to be a hundred yet!
We shall meet!

Spasiba! Merci!

Nomichke, I'm in the middle of something.
I'll call you later.

Nobody has ever
heard of Cafe Nagler

And we see that it's a big place

and beautiful, and it existed for
a long time

and nobody's heard of it.

It is, especially in Kreuzberg,
Kreuzberg used to be,

always used to be
an immigrant quarter

and people tend to arrive here
but not to stay.

The immigrants are not
maintaining traditions

and they don't remember
what was in this quarter

two generations or three generations before.

They remember what was in Turkey
or what was in Russia or what was in Poland

or wherever they came from.

You could say...

Could you say that Cafe Nagler

was maybe the biggest or most...

maybe the biggest cafe
that you know of

owned by Jewish immigrants
in those years?


-Could you say that?

From all that I learned from you and
your family's story about Cafe Nagler

I have to admit that I think

Cafe Nagler is really the biggest
cafe and restaurant

which was run by Jewish immigrants
at that time.

How many records do you have?

I didn't count them, but I'm afraid
it's about 6,000.

I understand you've
never heard of Cafe Nagler.

Unfortunately, not.

So I thought this is very exciting

to find out about something
you really don't know so much about.

My grandmother always says

that swing dance was
created in Cafe Nagler.

Not possible.

Swing didn't exist.

Okay, I see.

Could it have just been invented then?

No. No.

The word "swing" did not exist
at all till 1936.

12 years after Cafe Nagler,

first time you heard in Germany
the word "swing."

It didn't exist.

It was not invented.
The word didn't exist.

Would you be able to say

that swing dance was invented
in Cafe Nagler?

Perhaps an earlier version?

It's hard to do something... telling, this
is the truth and in the end it's a lie,

because this is what Neo-Nazis
do all the time.

They say Auschwitz is a lie,

and we know it's not a lie.

I can tell many stories and imagine
many nice fairytales,

but I don't want to lie.

The legendary Cafe Nagler
in Berlin,

in Moritzplatz,
one of the finest squares in the city

5 generations of Naglers in Israel

who drank thousands of coffees
from beautiful cups

ate Clara Rosa Nagler's
famous Gugelhupf

and told stories

that Berlin seem to have forgotten.

All the way to Israel,

I couldn't stop thinking of how
I will walk into my grandmother's home

and break her heart.

-You're here!


I wasn't sure you'd make it.
How are you?

He's filming already...
-Look at you!

I put make up on

You're wearing make up!

It's impossible otherwise;
do you know how it looks?

Completely blue?
-Very blue, down to here.

Oh, there?

It flowed from here all the way down

There you have a bruise
-There and here

It's alright, nothing to it
-But did you also hit your arm?

No, that's another bruise.

Another one? Dad will kill you!

This is fun!

What are your next plans?

What, today?
-No, in general

In general...
-Are you constantly working?

Eh, we're getting more into...

-High gear

So what we found-

What did she find?
Where was that restaurant?

I was caught between pieces
of information I could no longer hide,

and my difficulty telling Naomi
about the true state of our film.

And both of them don't exist anymore


Both of them don't exist anymore?

You slice each side in three...

This way, Dad?

And then cut them in half...
and again

Cakes were only Linzer-torte
and Bienenstich,

or other classic German cakes

all Yekkes came to Israel
but stayed in Berlin.

Naomi feels that she's fulfilling
herself through you.

For her, the story of Cafe Nagler
is huge.

She's absolutely fulfilling herself
through you, in every way

I see it, I hear it.

Really? -Certainly.
Each time you visit it's a celebration

and any mention of the film
makes her sharp and alert

she becomes thrilled,

she's very happy about it,
she feels accomplishment,

it gives her closure.

You're her successor

She had some hopes
that I would become a filmmaker

but since I failed her, you, as my

are the family's filmmaker

and you're her natural successor.

Wow, it's excellent!

Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me!

I'm working here!


Naomi, who apparently noticed
that I returned with a heavy heart,

took me on a tour
of the Nagler home in Haifa,

so I wouldn't forget
where I came from.

This is where I grew up

this was our playground. Here.

This was the garden...

All this... -Wow.
Belonged to my grandparents.

This is the Naglers' home

they brought the house with them

from Berlin by ship.

It was a replica of their
hunting cabin in the Black Forest.

It's really funny

-Seeing how it changed

But I think that if we follow this path

we can see the house from behind

And as we walked around
the Nagler grounds,

who's myths are crumbling around me

it became even harder to tell her

about my failed mission.

Well, it's cold today

It's cold, ha?

Run up there and see if there's,
left of the stairs,

the new stairs,

there used to be a sign
"Nagler Home".

Morzaleh, it was here,
in front of the stairs

in front of these stairs

where the flowers are.

There is no sign.

They took it down.

Fine, never mind.

They took it down, never mind.

Never mind.

My beloved niece, Mor.

I heard from Naomi that you're
gathering testimonies

for your documentary
about the shady Cafe Nagler.

Well, your father mentioned
that he's already been filmed,

so why have I, who am always after
the limelight

wasn't invited to participate?

Well, here's the real version
of what actually went on in Cafe Nagler,

as I've personally heard
from my grandmother, Omama.

Mor. -What?

Why does a cheap man...

Why does a cheap man
watch a pornographic movie

from the end to the beginning?

He wants to see the prostitute
give money back.

Get it?

And then she said
"look, we had a cafe in Berlin"

What?! You had a cafe?

Yes! A huge cafe!
Three stories high!

I said "oh, Omama, come on..."

"No, Ranile, we had a huge cafe

with a bar and restaurant downstairs

and a grand family-restaurant
on the second floor

Wait, but you mentioned
a third floor

she said "yes,
there was also a third floor"

"What was on the third floor?"

So she squirmed a bit,

until she finally said "well,
Ranushle, you're a grown boy now..."

I was 16 already

"up there we had smaller rooms,
with sofas and small tables

and couples used to go up there
for privacy"

I said "what couples? What is this?

are you talking about prostitution?"

and she said "no, no,
it wasn't this kind of prostitution, no.

But these were war-widows,

or young, unemployed women,
who needed money,

or divorcees,
and women abandoned by spouses,

or mothers of small children

who went out at night
to earn some money

and I said "what, young women
would go up there?!"

and she said "yes, they would
and it was accepted."

And I asked "but the family...
your father knew?!"

She said "my father owned the place!

And my mother sat
at the cash register,

She knew very well,
my mother sat at the register,

she didn't trust anyone."

Calling it a fact,
based on an assumption

and giving explanations based
on assumptions,

I think that's not right.

The cafe was open
to the early morning

It isn't right
-It's possible that during the day,

One moment!

In the morning, afternoon, evening,

they served afternoon teas,
and dinner

it's possible
that after 10-11 at night

it became sleazier, more intimate

more daring, fresh
-Isn't it just "possible"?

No, it's not just possible,
it's what usually happens

in places open until late at night
-But you're assuming

No, I'm not assuming

You're certain that Cafe Nagler
was like that? -I wasn't there

Oh, you weren't there...
-I'm certain that most cafes,

if they could, if they had rooms
at the third floor

cafes that didn't have
a second or third floor

simply couldn't,

but cafes that could,

and were open until late,

certainly did.

Again, you're assuming
and lecturing as a historian

No, I'm telling what she told me
-Why do you do this? Why?

I thought it was a nice,
fresh anecdote

that shows our human side

that we're not all square Yekkes

who only serve coffee with cream
and a strudel with some ice cream

so there was a bit more

mom, it's okay to be
a bit more bohemian

you're not the first bohemian
in Israel

there was your mother before you
and her mother...

We didn't invent the wheel.

So what, I'm not that
shocked about it

and you shouldn't be-
why are you shocked suddenly?

I'm not shocked by it
I'm shocked by your excitement about it

and that you see it as an anecdote

and you emphasize it

I see the reality in Berlin
during the early twenties

Good -And I think your grandfather
was very human

I think this compassion was,
like I tell you

inherited by Sophie,
and you got it from her.

You both always accepted differences
and were always liberal

I'm afraid you're far more liberal
then I am

I've always been more conservative.

You both accepted others

and were far more forgiving
towards differences

that's why I think
you actually inherited

some of the legacy of Cafe Nagler

perhaps it left more of a mark in you
then you're willing to admit.

That's my opinion,

and if I've offended you,
I apologize

if I said anything that offended you,

I'm terribly sorry
-You didn't offend me

Because the last thing I want
is to upset my 86 year old mother

You didn't offend me
-But I thought

that if we see it from a human
perspective, we could laugh,

It's okay to laugh at ourselves a bit

and at our heritage
-Certainly -Okay.

So be it.

Nomichke, tell me...

are you alright? -What?
-Are you alright?

I'm alright.
-You're not angry?

I'm fine.
-You're not angry?

No, of course not.

Look, this is your film. You should
do what you think is right.

I think it went nice.
- I'm not angry. Not at all.

I'm not angry at you.

You shouldn't be angry at anyone.

That day I realized
that memories are more precious

than all the documents, dates,
and historical facts,

and it was becoming clear
that I cannot return to my grandmother

without a film about Cafe Nagler.

But I've heard about it all my life

and I can't disappoint my family

and go back home and tell them:

Your big and famous cafe
wasn't so big and famous.

So I'm...

I'm creating a fictional documentary
about the cafe. -Okay.

So I'm kind of inviting you to join me
in this creation of a film about the cafe.


So what I'd like to ask you to do
is to think of a personal story

that you've heard in your family.

And the only thing I would ask you

is to place this story
in Cafe Nagler.

But it has to be a true story.

So now I have to think.

What I've been told is that

my great-grandmother,

she was in love with a doctor.

He was still a student and he kind of
finished his studies very quick

and then he had to travel
somewhere, I don't know...

Stop, stop for a moment.

Okay, so what I've been told
is that my great-grandmother

she fell in love very strongly with this
doctor-student, he was still very young,

and at that time they made the
students finish their studies very quick

so they could send the boys
to the war.

And she loved this man totally

and he left, and when he left he gave
her a little thing around her arm

that was from his hat.

Okay, so she was wearing this all the time,

and then one day
she was sitting in this Cafe Nagler.

She was sitting there

and it fell off.
It wasn't there anymore.

She was sitting there having
her coffee and it wasn't there.

And a few days later she heard
that he had fallen in the war.

And she didn't go back
to this cafe any more

because she was too sad,
it was a sad place for her to go.

I can tell you my great
family secret

I solved when I was a teenager.

My great-grandmother,
when she was a young girl

she should marry,

but she wasn't sure if she
loved him,

if she wanted this life.

And in Cafe Nagler she met this man,
a young, handsome man,

Polish and Jewish soldier,

and she fell in love with him wildly.

And she built up
a secret love affair

and one day she got pregnant

and it was shortly before the soldier
had to flee for obvious reasons

so she married this other man
very quickly, who still loved her,

and he said: Okay, this will be my child,
and that was my grandmother.

I was always afraid my great-grandmother

was so closed in that part

because she felt guilt,

but she felt heartbreak.

It's a tragic story, I think,

but nice.

Would you be able to...


how Cafe Nagler

could have been?

So this could have been probably
the most modern dance piece

to be played in Cafe Nagler in 1924.

All the literature guys came to
Cafe Nagler, of course.

Alfred Dublin was sitting there every
night on his way from his office home,

he was living in the West.

He had to change
from the subway to the tramway

just in front of Cafe Nagler.

Of course he was having
a little cocktail in Cafe Nagler.

It's a beautiful fiction,
it could have been like this.

I realized Naomi would expect
to hear from some important historian.

I was skeptical that Dr. Kreutzmuller,

a distinguished historian
who works at the Wannsee House

would be willing to participate,

but I had to try...

And now we are on Moritzplatz,
the most important square in the town,

that's the square where everything happened,

and that's the square where,
of course, The Cafe Nagler was,

just right here opposite
this wonderful cafe

where we were just given
this wonderful beer

in order to have a toast,
l'chaim, to Cafe Nagler.

And of course this was the place...

Yeah, it's a wasp.

And I've been stung by one yesterday.

Yeah, this here was
the ground floor of Cafe Nagler

where, so to speak,
the boring people were,

like, all the politicians and...

and businesspeople
from Ritterstrasse and all that,

but then you go upstairs,
into the trees, into the sky,

that would be the first floor,
that's where Rosa ruled, really,

and Rosa had this air about her

of letting people do what they wanted
and being generous.

"Here lived Clara Rosa
and Ignatz Nagler,

"Owners of the Famous Cafe Nagler."

It was a very well-known family,
they had a lot of guests.

In recent years people
often come and ask

about the Nagler family
whom we don't know

and ask to see the apartment
where they lived.

Up there is a souvenir
from the apartment, a Menorah,

we said it's symbolic, we'll keep it,
we'll leave it standing there.

That's the story of the Naglers.

My grandmother lived here
in Berlin in 1922.

When she was sixteen
she wasn't allowed outside at night.

One night she said she was going out
for a school trip or something

but she actually went with friends
to Cafe Nagler

One night my great uncle,
her older brother

joined their table

but my grandmother didn't know
that they came on a special evening...

At midnight, they suddenly
heard trumpets and saw fireworks

and an Indian prince arrived,
riding a white elephant.

My grandmother thought:

"Where did this elephant come from?!
where did this prince come from?!"

The prince rode on the elephant
straight to my grandmother

and her brother's table
and extended his hand.

My uncle stood up,

because he was meeting
the prince of India,

climbed on top of the elephant,
said goodbye,

and he and the prince disappeared.

From that day on my grandmother
knew her brother's secret

and whenever one of them needed
the other's cover,

they would say
"we are going to Cafe Nagler"

and my great-grandmother
would say "yes, you may go,

"but don't forget that you come
from a good home!"

And of course Otto Dix would come along
and George Gross and all those people,

thinking, "Hah, I want to
go to Moritzplatz

"just to get this vibe
of Cafe Nagler."


The air of freedom,
the air of creativity. -Amazing.

And the cheesecake, of course.
-Of course.

If what my grandmother
told me is true,

if the Cafe Nagler wouldn't
be there, I wouldn't be there.

My grandmother loved the movies

and she used to work
in a movie theater

and that's where she met my grandfather

because my grandfather
was a saxophone player,

he played the saxophone
in a film orchestra.

And there was one actress that she
really, really loved and admired

and one night they went
to the Cafe Nagler

and my grandfather
was playing in the jazz band

and my grandmother was dancing.

In came this famous actress
that she admired so much

and she was so embarrassed,
she was really struck at this moment,

but it came so that this really
famous actress and my grandmother

went to a separe,
a private room

because on the top in Cafe Nagler

there were the private rooms
for special guests.

She never saw this actress again
after this one night.

This actress went to America
and went to work for Paramount.

And then came the sound,
sound came into the movies

so that the talking pictures came.

This one birthday, my grandmother,
she was a little bit drunk

and she said: You know what
the real reason was,

the real reason she didn't
make it into the talking pictures?

It was because her voice
was too low.

What, her voice was too low?

She said: her voice was too low!

It could be that I'm actually
the grandson of this famous film actress

who actually wasn't an actress

but a man.

This pursuit of Cafe Nagler,

introduced me to others,
who, like my family

somehow live in the past.

Like Dylan, who deejays 20s music

and dreams of Nosferatu
and expressionistic cinema from the period,

or Erna,
who dreams of the liberal days of the 20s,

like her grandmother told her,

when Berlin was a haven
to gays and transgenders,

and Vivian, who inherited from her
grandmother her clairvoyance

and talks about the attraction
of the 1920s crowds

to the supernatural
and the subconscious.

And I ask myself:

What is it about this era that
my family clung to all those years?

The merry Weimar years,
when being a German Jew...

was a particularly high pedigree.

My family left Berlin in 1925

and even if they missed it,
they had no home to return to.

So they lived in Palestine,
Surrounded by their beloved dishes,

Baked strudels
and told stories.

Place three of them

Now here are the salads
Ruti brought, you can bring them.

Listen, Morzaleh, take out
the Nagler serving spoons

There are larger ones
Larger ones? Here? -Yes.


Morzaleh, take out the plates.
- Plates.


There are more plates,
smaller ones. -The smaller ones?

So why did you bring that?

These ones and
the smaller ones.

Are you nervous about
the screening?

I'm a little bit afraid.
- of what?

Of what they'll say.

Me too.

You do? I know.
- sure.

You're more afraid than I am.

I'm most afraid of what
you will say. -me?!

It came down through
the generations.

Tali put the cake in the fridge.
- The cake is here, put it here. -Where?

Sophie, come have a look at this.

Hi, how are you?

Hello, little one!

I'm just tasting to make sure it's
not bad, otherwise we can't serve it.

Where are the plates?
Let's help.

Okay, can we start?
Is that it?

Can we talk?
- You can talk.