Train of Life (1998) - full transcript

Central Europe, WWII. The village fool of a small Jewish community warns the townsfolk that the Nazis are coming, and advises them to build a fake deportation train to cross the Russian border and get to Palestine. Some Jews are dressed up with German uniforms, and soon they start getting strange ideas about how it feels to be a Nazi; others are infected with the fast-spreading germ of communism. Meanwhile, the Russian border gets closer and closer...

Once upon a time there was a Shtetl,
a small Jewish village in Eastern Europe.

It was in the year 5701.
1941 according to the new calendar.

It was summer. Summer of 1941.

July, I think.

I thought I could escape
everything I had seen.

I ran to warn them.

My own people, my Shtetl, my village.

This is the story of my village?



What's up?

Tell them.

He has given them the go ahead.

God has simply given them the go ahead.

"Look", he told me,

"you are already insane anyway."

How can one wash away the dirt

from eyes that have seen too much?

The birds, who were singing,

suddenly went quiet and disappeared.

- They didn't want to come with us.
- What are you talking about?

Tell them, Schlomo... the Nazis...

I am telling.

I am telling you: The Nazis.

We traveled through space one day,
beyond the sky.

Now I know...
There is no more space in our hearts.

- We're looking for it elsewhere.
- Stop rambling.

Tell us now.

I'll translate.

The Nazis have arrived.

Not in our Shtetl. Not yet.

In the Shtetl on the other
side of the mountain.

Schlomo brings terrible news:

The Nazis are killing all Jews or
deporting them to unknown destinations.

Everybody! Men, women, children, old.
Whole villages!

So the rumor is correct.
Nobody ever returns,

or ever wrote a letter.

What should we do? I ask you.

The same will happen to us soon.

Still one can't make whole
villages disappear!

That's really insane.

He's insane and telling lies.
We'll do nothing.

But what if he's telling the truth?

Could you sleep well at night then?

What would you tell your wives,
children, grandchildren?

We knew about it,
but didn't believe it...

We must come up with a solution.
Now, tonight!

How can we save our community?

Don't know...

An idea...


- We're thinking! - If you wake up
the children, I'll throw you out!

- How could we think without talking?
- Try!

- I got it. I have an idea.
- Don't crack now.

- We buy weapons and defend ourselves!
- Killing?

No, we'll only scare them.
Who's talking about killing?

Stupid idea!

Only because I didn't want my
Esther to marry your grandson!

Keep her, your beautiful Esther!
Put her in a frame!

- That's sinful talk!
- Stop it!

- A false deportation train.
- Who's talking?

The eternal one.
Well, the madman...

Repeat it, Schlomo.

- A false deportation train.
- What?

A false deportation train.
Can't you hear me?

Organizing a deportation train?

We'll deport goats, cows, geese

to the Holy Land, to Erez Israel.
And the children too...

- What about us? Why just the children?
- Yes, us, the children.

We should be the deported and
the Germans at the same time.

Shtetl, Ukraine, Russia, Palestine...

Home... Free as a bird.

Oh God! This is really meshuggah!

We'll do their work if we
deport ourselves. That's insane.

- If they want to deport us, they should at
least work hard for it! - A brilliant idea!

- You'll be rich. What's your name?
- Rothschild. - Remember that name!

- My wife can't stand going by train.
- How d'you know? She never took the train.

She never took the train because
she can't stand it! Can't you hear me?

Dressing up like Germans, like Nazis!
A dishonor! A sin!

- God will never forgive us!
- One more word and I'll kick you out!

A train?
Think about it. A train!

And what else?
Why not a boat, while we're at it.

Of course! He's right. A train!

A train! A train!

- How should we find a train?
- Buy one.

Coach by coach.

- How do we get the money?
- From the community, and from donations.

- How much? - And the uniforms?
- Jews are the best tailors.

- We'll make them ourselves!
- The weapons, the fake papers?

Weapons... why weapons?

The fake papers...
are simply made from real paper!

We'll have to speak German without accent.

Prepare departure. Deportation of the
whole village without anyone noticing.

Yes, that's what we'll do.

We'll fly away!

Heaven and earth will reunify,
the birds will return?

God, why do men rule the world?
Why does a madman show the way?

Jehuda, have you heard it?
- Even a deaf person has heard it!

- We'll go by train to Palestine.
- Don't you worry? - No, why?

Nobody talks about the costs!

- To Palestine! By boat!
- No, by train!

Thanks for telling me.
I already bought swimming tires.

Listening to a madman!
That's meshuggah!

- Who'll look after our houses?
- My son is to be married in a month!

Schlomo, I've made a list of
all things I want to bring...

I'll just bring my list,
that's all I have.

- What are you doing?
- These Germans!

They shouldn't be sitting here watching
the beautiful Esther pass by!

- But Esther won't be around then.
- So won't the bench!

It's not so easy to buy a train!
And where should I hide it?

- Should we bring our furniture?
- I don't know. Ask the rabbi.

Will we ever return?

- I have a delivery later this month.
- Quiet!

Quiet! I can't hear a word!

Ask your questions, one at a time.

But not only to me, ask Schlomo too.

The madman!?
- Deport ourselves is insane anyway.

I'll make five officer uniforms
and thirty soldier uniforms.

Itzik makes the boots.
Herschele makes the helmets.

But in what sizes?

Who'll be wearing it?
Which of us will be Germans?

The Nazis.

- I've forgotten to buy flour...
- Nobody leaves the room!

Who wants to be Nazi?
I mean German.

- Itzik?
- No. God help us! Nazism is a sin!

Misfortune would strike my family.

No, thanks.

- Jankele? - I'm an accountant
and suffer from stomach ulcer.

- A real German don't do that.
- Nobody then?

- So we put real Nazis in place.
- They can deport us in a correct manner.

- How about you, Mordechai?
- I'm sorry, Rabbi, I can't do that.

Be aware of the responsibility this means.

Quarrel with Germans in German...
that's not for me.

The council of wise men should decide
who should be the Germans.

Very good! Excellent!
Everybody stays here.

Was I right to refuse?

- Why hasn't he asked you?
- Me, a Nazi? No!

God, please. Not me.

To the benefit of the community,
the council have chosen those

who can speak German fluently,
with a minimum of accent,

who are familiar with the Germanic
culture, and who in the past

have shown superior self-control.

The decision is final and irrevocable!

The mission is to bring the community
safely to the destination.

To the Holy Land,
to Palestine, to Erez Israel,

like Moses,
who led us out of Egypt.

You are responsible to God
to fulfill this mission.

For his merits, the Council wants to
appoint the wood merchant

Mordechai Schwartz
to be commander of the train.

He'll take upon a great responsibility.

The other Germans are:
Samuel Heimovici,

Ezra Finkelstein, Ezra Harari...


Put it over there.

Bread: 17.
- 17?

Golda, I have told you, no pastries.
That's not proper food.

- It's for the kids!
- No, we don't have enough room.

And besides, pastries are for Purim!

- Maybe we haven't arrived by then.
- They'll be eaten before that.

How could a child tell when it's Purim.

It sees the pastry, eats it
and says "It's Purim!"

One can't discuss such matters with you...

And what's that?

Gherkin, Russian style...

That makes 1500 potato knishes,

cabbage, carrots, 4200 dumplings,

latkes, klopslach, beef tongues.

Malka, you and Lea should make the bread.
Have we forgotten anything?

Do you remember Ari...

You are beautiful, my girl.

- Happy man who will marry you!
- Rich and handsome.

I'm sure.


Marry me, please, before we leave!

No, Jossi.
You're old, ugly and weak.

You still live with your mom. You are the
helper of the rabbi. I'll never marry you.

I'll marry a real man!

I will completely belong to him.

With body and?

Don't push! Discipline!

Line up to make donations!

Please stay in line.

- Hurry up, Mendel.
- I'm coming, Jankele.

A wooden chess game
from Mrs. Grossmann. Here.

A wooden chess game.
Make note.

A wooden chess game
from Mrs. Grossmann.

Schlomo: An apple. Make note.
Next. You can leave, Schlomo.

- Thanks.
- Next.

Schlomo: An apple.


Let's see... Yes, that's correct.

Thanks. Have a nice Sunday.

Hurry up! We have to be home before dark.

It's massive silver, for sure.

That should be enough.

"Dear Israel Schmecht,

dear cousin!"

Israel Schmecht, my wife's cousin.

A Yiddish writer
of worldwide reputation.

Israel will join us
and take part of our adventure.

He lives in Switzerland,
after fleeing from his homeland Austria,

which was attacked by Hitler, the barbarian.

He will give us some important help,
teach us to speak fluent German,

without any trace of Yiddish accent,

as well as the culture,
civilization and psychology

of the people of Goethe,
both bourgeoisie and simple soldiers.

I don't get it! It's too difficult.

It's very much like Yiddish.
I do understand it.

German is a rigid language.
It is precise and sad.

Yiddish is a parody of German.
It adds humor.

To speak perfect German and
to get rid of the Yiddish accent,

just leave out the humor.

Do they know that they are subject
to parody? Maybe that's why they make war.


I agree. It would be cheaper
to pay for the train all at once.

To buy one coach at a time is
more expensive, but it is safer!

This is killing me, Mendel!
I can't go on like this.

It can't be done against your will!

Don't get so upset!
I can't do anything.

- We wont get it for under 10000.
- 10000 for one coach? No!

He's crazy. It's not my money!

With leather. Delivery just before our
departure. We wont get it any cheaper!

I don't need any leather. Mordechai
shouldn't bother us with his leather goods.

- 5000, my last offer!
- Mordechai can't do anything anyway.

All coaches for German officers
are furnished with leather.

- When real Germans enter the train...
- Your Germans make me want to throw up!

I hate them,
before I've even seen one!

Is this what I get in return for
everything that I've taught you?


Are you okay? Your medicine...

Never again require such sums from me.
That would be the best medicine.

That is beautiful!

- Not so expensive!
- A train...

Yes, very good...

Did you hide the money well?

Listen, your cousin is a communist.
He sees the Messiah everywhere.

Don't spend too much time with him.
It could infect you.

"Women and men of the world, unite!"

Think about it. "Unite!"
He has only got one thing on his mind.

You'll give him the money, and he makes
the ID documents and passes.

Rabbi, you have already told me all that.

- It's better once too often.
- But twenty...

- You should hide them...
- In my shirt, yes.

I sleep in a public place
and eat only kosher.

The next morning I'll take the train...

You already know! Why did you let
me repeat it twenty times?

- To be sure nothing was forgotten.
- Very well, my son.

- Here are some cookies for the journey.
- Thanks, Mama.


He'll be back in four days time.

Do you want some cookies?

- Jossele, is that you?
- Yes, Mama.

Haven't you told your cousin Abi,
that we are going to Palestine?

- I have, but he wont come with us.
- Why not?

Mama, listen.

Soon all people will be alike. Abi says
that we don't have to flee anymore.

Since the world soon will be one
country only, fleeing is about not moving.

Free! We don't get anything here.
We only live isolated, in seclusion.

You are going to leave me alone.

No, Mama, that's not true.
Listen to me!

Unbelievable, that we didn't know.

Everything will be different in the future.

Do you know what he said?

"Proletarians of all countries,


Unite! Isn't that lovely?

- The Messiah is here.
- Have you seen him?

- Of course. As I you see now.
- What's he like?

He leads the revolution. Day and night.
He changes people's minds.

- He creates the new man.
- What does he do with the old?

- Can one be overage and still new?
- We are Jews, not proletarians.

He's called the Messiah,
but no one knows who he is.

It is a code name, so that he
wont be recognized and arrested.

Same thing with "proletarians",
it's a code name for revolutionaries.

One acts in secret, defies the danger...

incognito, clandestine, revolutionary...

The utopist, the adventurer!

Enough now!

I'll give you danger.

Is that why you've shaven off you beard?
So that no one will recognize you?

You punk! I feel sorry for your mother.


What are you looking at?
Go away! Go home!


- Why a blue coach?
- No more paint.

Careful! You're breaking it.

I'm the train manager,
but I can't run the locomotive.

We need a Jewish train driver, a railway
map and a second-hand locomotive.

- Where from?
- Let me finish.

Go to Anton Levi,
one of Rachel's relatives...

The old woman?
Nobody wants to be a relative of hers.

- How do you know, you don't know her.
- Why do you give me her orders?

- Nobody said that!
- You did!

Did I said that?

You see! You are not taking orders
from her, nor anyone else.

Find this horse-man Anton Levi!

- What has a horse-man got to do with trains?
- He works in transportation!

It's the same! He surely knows
someone at the Railroad Ministry.

Money for the trip.
And don't come back a communist!

Rabbi, Itzik is back!

Quickly, tell the council and Mordechai!

Jankele and all you others, quickly!

This is Schtrull Geitzl, the train driver.

- Welcome!
- Aleichem shalom.

So you are a train driver?

Schtrull has never yet driven a locomotive.

Wait! He's a high officer
at the Railroad Ministry.

He's the manager of the archives...
and has brought... give it to me...

A manual:
"How to drive a locomotive"

- I always wanted to be a train driver.
- He's been restrained in an office...

- Try it. - They were afraid a Jew
like him would steal a locomotive.

So he is an honest man
and a talented train driver.

A real Yiddish train driver!

Long live train driver Schtrull Geitzl!

- And the locomotive?
- Almost finished. Coming from the archives.

Shalom Rabbi, Itzik...


Schtrull, Mendel, Schlomo...

Doctor... Shalom.

Why the doctor? Is anyone ill?

No, not the locomotive!
I don't have more!

Everything ok?

Here it is!

Still a little?

Very well. Now you can stop.

Stop it.


- Looks like a wreck!
- We have been fooled.

It's as good as new.
It's because of the darkness.

Thank you. To the station.

I hope you really know geography.

Anyway, you know where Palestine is...

He'll travel around the world,
believe me, Rabbi!

Wait until tomorrow morning.

It's because of the mist.
Wait until the sun rises.

More red! It must shine! Hurry up!

The screw is too big!

Hurry up!

Shovel and coal...

A manometer for measuring
the steam pressure?

Must be that one.
Starting lever...

The longest train in the world!

- Faster than the lightning...
- It flies over the clouds!

Completely made of gold. A magic train!

Pity that you can't come with us.

Goodbye, business.
Our Jews are leaving.

Mr... Rabbi. So you can assure me
that all this is not correct,

that it's been made up by the children?
You give me your word, right?

Don't worry. We're not going anywhere.

I want this rumor out of the
world immediately, trust me.

We must leave immediately!
Our neighbors suspect something.

- The Germans are coming closer!
- How soon?

Tonight. Is the locomotive ready?

- Well, yes.
- Then, let's go!

We must wake up the kids.
We must tell everyone.

- Rabbi, I am ready.
- Then let's go.

Mordechai, take command!

Sura, wake up the kids!

I'm not quite ready...

God bless this train!

That it will take us safely

to Palestine, to the Holy Land,

to the land of Israel! Amen!

Children of Abraham and Moses,
get on board!

God bless and protect you.

Get aboard!

Don't push! I came first!

Give space for the elderly.

The Germans in the green coaches!
All others in the red coaches!

No mattresses or furniture!

Calm down! The train is leaving soon.

Didn't you hear what I said?

Listen, it's now 12:20 a.m.
We will leave at 12:23 a.m.

Sit down quietly!

Mordechai, it's time to leave!

Schtrull! Off to Palestine!

Fool! Depart discreetly...

God protect us!

Grandma, we are on our way!

Yes, my angels,

we are on our way.


The bank will grant you the credit!

They were serious.

They did it.

They have left...

Check if the steam pressure stands on 11,

and that the lever is pushed forward?

The wheels should then move forward,

that is, in clockwise direction.

Look over there!

Stop! We'll never make it this way.
We'll only suffer from heart attacks.

Stop seeing Germans everywhere!

For the time being
there aren't any.

- We are ready.
- It's early, only 30 km away!

Shit! It's coming!

It's unfair that some are born poor
and some born rich into this world.

- Marx is also saying that.
- I agree with comrade Jossi und Marx.

It would be more fair, if poor would
be born rich into this world.

I'd gladly be a communist,
if I could keep peyots, tallit and kaftan.

Is that possible?

So you want to be a new man?
With peyots, tallit and kaftan?

The new man is new!
The old is outdated.

Listen... Thanks, Moitl.

That's nice.

Do you want to be the ideologist
of the Soviet train?

- I haven't read Marx.
- Me neither. It doesn't matter.

- You'll write it yourself.
- Okay.

Shit. A station!

A ghost train!
I am not drunk.

In fifteen minutes it will collide
with the 3 o'clock express train!

Five, four, three...

Rabbi! Mordechai!

Dirty Nazis! Have a nice journey!

Shit! It stopped!

Where are they?
I want to talk to them.

They are people like us.
They have a god.

- Who?
- The Germans!

- There are no Germans here.
- What do you mean?

- There aren't any here.
- Why did you stop then?

- Because it gets worse!
- Worse than the Germans?

I don't want to know.
Tell me anyway.

- We passed a station.
- What did you expect? A harbor?

They've discovered us!

Our train isn't scheduled
in the timetable.

What timetable, what are you
talking about? Give it to me.

Attention, Jews!

New laws concerning the
population of Jewish faith...

So it's true.

What do we do now?

- It's coming from the opposite direction!
- I'll blow it up! No pasaran!

No, it's not the same!
It's a passenger train.

There will be an entire battalion
waiting for us at the next station!

Is that your locomotive?
That's a strange noise!

My loco doesn't make any noise.
What are you trying to say?

Rabbi, this line is one-track only.

Take cover!

A miracle! It went underground.

Thank you, God!
Digging a tunnel in such short time...

- What? - We must tell the others that
there are no Germans here.

They are probably already half-dead
and sticked to the walls like flies!

I'll mobilize the council. A battalion
is waiting for us at the next station.

I won't disobey orders given by the party.
But you are not the party!

What do we do?

Everybody, get out. I must see
to the damage. No, no compensation.

- Dad, can I talk to you?
- Is everything alright?


I'm in love.

Mazel tov, my girl,

- Wonderful! Who is the happy one?
- The son of a rich man, dad.

Samuel Schwartz, the son
of Mordechai. Sami.

What? The son of a Nazi?
He's not welcome in my house!

What house? We live in a train.

His grandpa was a rabbi.
He is a Jew like us.

Sami, a real communist.

I know what he's thinking.
He's the son of Mordechai.

Nazi and bourgeois at the same time.

You're wrong. His moral standards
are both proletarian and Marxist.

- There you see, Papa.
- Not only a Nazi, but a communist as well!

- One can't be a Nazi and a communist!
- What do you know?

I forbid you to meet him.
End of discussion!

- Can we try to bypass them?
- No casualties.

5 lightly injured.
20 quarrels.

Let them quarrel, it's a sign of
good health. Thanks, Jankele.

- It's impossible to bypass all stations.
- Nothing is impossible!

A good soldier makes anything possible.
I'm in command, I decide!

No, the people should decide!
And it has decided,

that the deportees should sleep in
the Nazi coaches. In clean sheets!

The Nazis, the bourgeois, and the
imperialists should sleep in the straw!

We also want the privileges and the
comfort that comes with being German.

Jossi, what are you talking about?
What is your problem?

- Jossele...
- Mama!

My problem?

The Germans would have
treated us better.

They would even have offered it to us.

- We demand justice!
- Clean sheets!

Just what we needed.
Our community is falling apart.

- We shouldn't have left.
- Quiet!

You want to sleep in my bed?
Then repeat after me:

"Jawohl, mein Major!"

"Jaiwol meine majorele."

Did you hear that?
Did I make myself clear?

With such an accent he would soon have a bullet
in his head, and everybody would be in danger.

To be German is for those who
have earned it, who worked for it!


Stop fighting. I promise you
all clean sheets in Palestine.

- Get back in the train.
- Keep your promises, Rabbi!

The final struggle has only begun!

We're entering a new chapter in history.

Wait for it then,
don't waste your energy on it now.

Listen. I have an idea concerning
the stations. Grossmann!

You all know Elie Grossmann,
the chess champion. A grand strategist.

He can help us foresee the
movements of the Germans.

- What do you see in the map?
- I see only one possibility.

Take a detour. To be where the
Germans don't expect us to be.

- That'll take time. - Yes, but no one
suspects that we have a ghost train.

- Slow and steady wins the race.
- There we go!

And a strategist in addition? Rabbi?

Is it clear to him that are going east,
towards Russia, and not to England?

Doesn't matter to me.
I have family everywhere.

- Where are the Jews?
- I don't know. They promised not to leave.

It's not any good for me either.

- With whom should we do business now?
- With us! And real business...

Are you taking the role of the Jews?

Is that supposed to be a joke?

Come on, Schtrull, forward!

"Why" calling "For Whom"! Hello?

"For Whom", answer me!
Damn you, answer me now!

Hello! "For Whom"!

- "Why"?
- It failed.

- Why?
- Yes, that's me.

- No, why did it fail?
- They changed route.

- Blow up this train now!
- Okay, "For Whom"...

- What do you mean, for whom? For the cause!
- What? Yeah, sure.

Oh my god,
I'm probably next in turn?

I have never expected that
we should all arrive.

But at least children and young
people should reach the frontier

and live peacefully in Palestine.

And grown-up men and women too.
Children need their parents.

And since you saved all of them,
why not also elderly people?

- What have they done to you?
- If he doesn't listen, let me talk to him.

It's not in the schedule.
It's a ghost train.

Of course... no...
It's a deportation train...

- There are many.
- ...with Jews...

Most deportation trains
carry Jews, Herr Major.

And they are found in the schedule.

Right..? Of course...
But not this one, Herr Haupsturmf?hrer.

This is a top secret mission,
not included in the schedule.

We are transporting extraordinary Jews.

A Jew is a Jew.
What's so extraordinary with these?

They are...

Communist Jews.

Very dangerous ones.
Two times more dangerous.

They are Jews and communists
at the same time.

Transported in a single train.

Very profitable for the Reich.
We don't have to use one train for the Jews

and another train for the communists.

We can't separate them, because they
are both Jews and communists.

In that way we are saving a train.
You understand what I'm saying?

Just think of how many Jews and
communists who would like to see us fail.

So... no schedule.

Ghost train.
Top, top secret.

I understand.

- Do you need any escort, Herr Major?
- No, thank you.

One last thing.

Perhaps You can be of some help.

All the Jews from a nearby
village have disappeared.

Have You perhaps seen them?

Nearby village?

- Disappeared, You say...?
- Yes.


I wouldn't worry about it.

They must all be visiting some nearby place.

They keep tight family bonds.

They never walk alone.
They will be back.

- Are You sure?
- Yes, sure.

I know a bit of that.

First they take a turn,
then they return home.

They are undoubtedly very
attached to their original habitat.

You are very intelligent, Herr Major.

You have studied the
psychology of the enemy.

I can assure you that.
Day and night!

Heil Hitler!

- Filthy scum!
- Filthy scum!

Mordechai, at the next stop I'll
move back to my coach, okay?

Saved! I told you, these
Germans are not so clever.

We'll never get there, Mama, will we?

- The Germans will find us and kill us.
- No, no.

Not all Germans are bad.

We are still on our way.

We'll be in Palestine soon.

Don't you already feel the desert wind?

I will read you a story.

There was once a paradise on earth.

A vast desert,
that seemed dry and inhospitable,

but beneath all the sandy dunes
there was a wonderful treasure.

Green gardens, palaces,
creeks, animals, birds.

And a strong and happy people,
who overflowed with energy?


The party has decided
to turn every coach into a soviet.

As a result of the public elections,
that were kept secret,

we have appointed a
soviet secretary for each coach.

Sami Schwartz, the party appoints you
soviet secretary of the first coach!

- Bravo, comrade!
- So you must switch coach.

- Fascist!
- Leave Sami alone!

I will never marry you!
You are awake, this is not a nightmare.

Who's talking about marriage?
Calm down.

I don't want to marry you anymore.
I have married the Party.

I'm not available anymore.

Are you crazy?

Is it still a long way, grandma?

Yes, my love.

Is the earth holy only at one place?

No, the earth could be holy everywhere.

If one only want it so.

Then it wouldn't be a long way at all...

Alright, alright.

They are letting them out.
They are going to execute them!

Come on, girls.

Hurry up!

They're letting them say a last prayer!

Mordechai, tell your men to
remove their Nazi headwear!

Take off yours too. Your uniforms
is enough for us to bear.

The heads stay covered. The scripts don't
say anywhere that Nazi caps aren't allowed.

- Say something!
- Amen.

It's for me only to decide
what my men should do.

That goes for the deportees too.
I've got the authorization papers!

I allow you to wear the kippah,
but my men will leave their helmets on!

If bombers come fly over the train...
everything will look normal, and we are saved.

- That's important!
- You're just a fake commander.

The papers and the train too!

We encounter real Germans every day.
Therefore we need a real commander!

The Germans are praying with them!

- Are you sure?
- Well, I recognize Germans!

- They are swaying back and forth,
with a book in their hands. - Wait.

Fucking war!

The Sabbath begins today.
Perhaps they are Germans of Jewish faith.

- Okay, what do we do know?
- I'm going home.

Who knows if German Jews
are Nazis or Jews?

But they are wearing uniforms!
They are going to kill innocent people!

You're annoying!
Don't forget that we're writing history.

I'm going home now!

Commanders are always right.

If it goes wrong, history
will mention five cowards

who escaped the scene.

- No, no!
- What is it now?

They're eating! They snatched my pots!
- What?

Jossi Weintraub, what are you doing?


- And the prayer? - And the meeting?
- What meeting?

The party meeting. You are not called upon.
Continue your prayer, Rabbi.

We must eat now, or we'll be too late.

I have raised you as if you were
my own son. The Sabbath is holy.

The meeting too!
You've only taught me superstition.

We are Marxist-Leninist materialists!

Our Messiah has already
arrived. There is no God. - Fool!

Renegades! Come and pray!
And let the others also pray!

A bad example for the children.
Dirty communist!

Dirty Nazi!
There is no God!

I'll say it once again loud.
So that everyone can here the truth!

Don't fight! If there's a God or not,
what's the difference?

- Have you ever asked if there's humanity?
- Stop it!

Let him speak.
Speak, Schlomo.

"God created man in his own image."

That's beautiful...

Schlomo as the image of God.

Who has written this sentence in the Torah?

Man. Not God.

Written without any modesty,
comparing himself to God.

Maybe God created Man.

But Man, the son of God,

has created God,
in order to invent himself.

Could you repeat that?

Man has written the Bible
in fear of being forgotten.

God didn't care.

Schlomo, we already have enough troubles.

We do not love and worship God.

We rather ask him to help us
with our terrestrial existence.

But we don't care about God.
We just worry about ourselves.

So, the question is not
whether there is a God or not,

but whether there are any of us?

Bravo, that was a beautiful prayer.

Thank you, Schlomo.

Sabbath shalom.

- Did you understand him? - Of course.
God isn't sure whether there are any humans.

"Man doesn't exist."
Do I look like a chimpanzee?

It's your move.

One less.

Schlomo, why are you the fool?

I wanted to be a rabbi,
but the position was occupied.

When they looked for a fool, I thought
that I could be crazy on their behalf.

- Don't you ever feel lonely?
- No, there are enough crazy people.

I was talking about a woman.

Why didn't you ever have
a wife, children and a home?

I'm not that crazy...
Does it bother you if I take your queen?

I would love them too much.
I would die of love.

Or get crazy.

Mordechai, we're running out of supplies.

- What should we do?
- Shop for more.

Are you crazy?
We can't go shopping in a village.

"Heil, shalom! 1 kilo of carrots, please."

The children will soon have
nothing more to eat.

- Whose money are we going to use?
- No!

I don't have any more money. I need every
penny for Schwartz and Son in Palestine.

There's no more Son. Sami is a communist.
Me, Schwartz... I'm about to go crazy.

Well, okay...

If we all die, we wont need
Schwartz and Son in Palestine.

No one would buy.
No one would sell.

Turn around.

Love me, Sami.

Now you may.

You do not have any
responsibilities any longer.

I don't get it. Expelled from the
party for no reason, it's not fair!

It's hard to love a Nazi communist
when I only want to make...

I must be crazy.
I will die a virgin.

- I had to keep our relationship a secret and
I can't tell my comrades... - Ex-comrades!

...that I have the most beautiful girl.

- All because of your father, the old fanatic!
- Don't call him that. You have a Nazi father!

And this?

Isn't this more valuable than all of
Marx, Engels and Lenin together?

Wake up!

It's 2:00 a.m.


Sami, come.

Come on.


Mordechai, open up!

- What? The Germans?
- No. They have escaped!

- Who?
- The deportees.

Look, what they have done
to my train. Savages!

- They wanted to blow up the locomotive!
- Let's leave now. They will soon be arrested.

We shouldn't lose more time!


They are our brothers
and sisters. Jews like us.

- We can't leave them behind.
- Damn communists!

They are our people!

If they are arrested and tortured,
we wouldn't come very far.

We should arrive in Palestine
all together. So it is written.

I have an idea.

Very good, my dear panhandler!

Comrades, let's separate. Good luck!

We'll meet at the Red Square.

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

But you just said we
should separate..!

Barbarian! That's my only coat.
You've destroyed it, look!

You're more brutal than the Germans!

- Fascist!
- Jossi! Wait, I want to talk to you.

Why did you do that?

Tell me.

Everyone aboard? We're leaving.
Next time I'll give my men the right to shoot.

- The regulations must be respected.
- Shoot at your brothers?

Wait! We can't leave yet.
One is missing. Lilenfeld the tailor.

I can't manage.

I'm here!

I surrender. I got lost.

I'm a Jew just like you.

We should leave! They will torture him
until he tells where the train is.

- No! We must rescue him!
- Rescue him!

They are better armed.
Their officer is above me in rank.

Torches are not enough.

You don't know what a real Nazi is.
Only I know.

- Only me.
- I have an idea...

You fool!

Heil Hitler!

Oberstleutnant Andreas von Gl?ck
at Your service!

I have come to take my Jew back.

Excuse me, Feldmarschall,
but it is my Jew.

No, he's mine.
He escaped from my train.

But he is in my prison.
He must be interrogated.

Why are you so fond
of having a Jew here?

That could be seen
as a bit odd...

Do you have a particular, secret, admiration
for these Jews, and for Judaism in general?

Is it part of your family?
And are you thus Jewish yourself?


No! Is this a joke?

I'm not Jewish, I have an entire
family tree file stating the opposite!

I strongly doubt that!

I can see what your heart is made of.

Wanting to keep a Jewish prisoner
is indeed very suspect.

I even suspect that it is
your intention

to release him, or even worse,
to protect him.

- Maybe you fancy him and want to start
a relation with him..? - What?

An amicable relation?
Or even more?

Go ahead, take the Jew,
I'll give him to you.

I don't want him.
I don't need him anymore.

Bring the Jewish prisoner!

You're a real master of the Talmud,
all annotations and interpretations...

Thank you. Heil Hitler.


What's wrong?

That will stop you from breaking
out again, you dirty dog!

Take him to his coach!

Now gather all your men
and all the villagers.

Don't exaggerate. Let's go!

No, he must be punished!


Yes, Sir!

What's going on?

Everybody should bring food.
I must renew my supplies.

- Some ovens also so that we can cook!
- Yes, Sir!

Please, Mordechai, let's leave!

Nice, isn't it?

- Is it kosher?
- What?

Cushion! I mean, has it
lied down properly?

Liars! This meat hasn't lied down at all!

Do you want to poison us?

We can lay it down now,
if you want.

It must lie down
all from the beginning.

Get my Hakham...

Bless you. butcher, my chefs,
and my casseroles.

I have no confidence in you!

Bring me all animals you have!

Yes, Sir!

Filled carpfish. Pastrami cold cuts.
Oh, I love those!

Filled carpfish... exquisite!

- We're ready.
- Good.

So long, asshole!

I swear you, our own Nazis
are true angels!

Human, genuine Jews,
I came to understand that finally.

The others are true monsters,
you can't imagine...

They've only released him,
so that he could spy on us.

He works for Mordechai and his partners.
This is an anti-revolutionary act.

I propose exclusion from
the party. Who's for?

Who's against?
You're unanimously excluded!

Traitor! A spy for imperialist
and fascist powers!

The Supreme Soviet of coach number two
will decide your new place of residence.

You must stay inside your coach
for the rest of the trip.

You are neither allowed to step out,
nor to talk with the others.

All food was kosher.

Only Jews eat it that way.
My wife says so.

She used to work for
the Rudenbaums, Herr Oberst...


Ghost train!
Now you're telling me!

You're going to rot in jail!


You saved him.
Everyone is proud of you.

- We'll be in Russia soon. Free.
- Proud of me...

- They do not like me.
- What are you talking about?

That is true.

Nobody would lift a finger for me.

Nobody, understand?

Not even Sami, my own son.

When I faced the Germans,

I felt the whole community holding
its breath behind my back.

Are you afraid of me? No.

Everybody trembles, wishing for my success
and that the train departs safely.

When they imagine the worst,
guess what they to think.

That I'll be the first to bite the dust.

You know that's not true.

I only obey the will of the rabbi and
the advice of the council. And God.

I would even become a real Nazi
out of love for my people...

if it would bring them safely to Palestine.
Why do I get accused now?

You are crazy.

Would you burn your own people?

Would you treat them like animals,
separate children from parents,

brothers from sisters,
husbands from wives?

Because the rabbi and the council
requires it? Would you do that?

What are you trying to say?

I wouldn't burn or do
any harm to anyone.

This train is crazy,
it makes us all crazy.

- Someone got this crazy idea...
- It was me.


Then everything is okay.

Schtrull, you idiot!
Learn to drive...

Heil Hitler!

Everybody out.
We'll seize control of this train.

What? My train?

Orders from the F?hrer.

O God!
It would be too beautiful...

if you lets us fail so near our goal.

Sometimes I ask myself
if You are a sadist.

You notice our misfortune.

Or do You look the other way
in order not to be shocked?

- Mordechai, don't you hear his accent?
- His or mine?

Is that you name?

Schlomo, my brother, you're alive!

Manzatu, Gypsy brother, how are you?

This is Schlomo! They are all Jews!

They are Gypsies!
Nazis and deportees! Like us.

I'm in command! I decide!
I want this train!

I had it! It was mine!

I've had enough of this!
I never wanted to be a Nazi!

Me neither.
I understand you!

- Where are you heading?
- India. And you?


They are not Germans!
They are Gypsies!

Listen! Take your weapons away!

They're all Jews. Not a single German
or anything like it. Come!

God is great. The train is small,
but there is place for everyone.

Deportees to the Deportees.
Germans to the Germans.

Rabbi, are the pigs allowed
to board the train?

God will understand.

- Should I make a note?
- Whatever.


Please take the bed,
I'll sleep on the couch.

Thank you.

I was not in doubt
that you were a Jew.

A German would have obeyed
me without any discussion.

Heil Hitler!

Papa. You were right.
I have left Sami.

Mazel tov, my daughter,
let me embrace you.

You have listened to your father.

Don't be sad. There will be thousands
of others. You are young and pretty.

Yes, Papa, there is already
another man that I love.


Mazel tov...
Who is the gentleman?

Miron Pastai, the Gypsy.

My daughter...

I prefer the Nazi...

My son, you have changed.

You were good looking,
wanted to make good

you had dreams,

you had a God.

What are you becoming?

Is that communism?

I will be with you
till the end of the world.


My Jossele...

you were a communist,

but became a human again...

They are really sick!

They're barbequing pork.
Is the fire still kosher?

I understand.

- One more time, please
- No. Tomorrow.

- No, now.
- Tomorrow.

- And if there is no tomorrow?
- Today will stop being today sometime.

- Then morning starts.
- So there is a tomorrow.

Yes, but not today.

Thanks, cutie.

Not very nice of you
to spy like that...

I wasn't spying.

- You wanted to start a fire?
- Me? No, never!

Should I put out your fire?

- No, it's not...
- Yes...

The Party does not allow any
hot, non-political love...

Make yourself ready, cutie.

Tonight I will love both
you and your party

in a way you've never
been loved before.

A true revolution.

Unbendingly fight to get through.
You know what I'm talking about.

Don't touch my cow.
She is kosher.

Have you swallowed your Stradivarius?

They still believe that they
invented the violin. Play!

Come on!

What's all this "no" about?

Why "no" all the time?

- What are you doing here?
- He represents a third of our community.

He should be here.

We could still turn back.

All Germans are gathered here,
at the front. We wont get through.

So all of this for nothing?
We should try get through!

- Whose in faver?
- What did he say?

Who is in favor?

Do you want something?

Then go away.

Tell me, Schlomo...

Have you ever desired a woman?

Have you ever loved a woman
and wanted to live with her?


Have you ever loved a woman?

Long time ago?

Do you still love her?

We're going to die, Schlomo.

Who is the woman?

It's you.

Schtrull, stop.

It should be here. Stop the train.

- Have you found it?
- No, not yet. We're still looking.

Do you think the Germans hate us so much
that they have hidden the front line

just to drive us crazy?

- What have we done to them?
- I don't know.

O my God, the Germans!

This is the end!

No! We've arrived!
We're at the front!

Both sides are shooting!
We're right in the middle!

We are free!

When we arrived in the Soviet Union
most of us stayed and became communists.

Others went to Palestine,
especially the Gypsies...

Others yet went to India,
also many Jews.

Schtrull went all the way to China, where he
became station-master in a small village.

The beautiful Esther went to America.

She got many children.
One prettier than the other.

That's the true story of my Shtetl.

Well, almost true anyway...

Shtetl, Shtetl, Shtetele...

Don't forget me, Shtetele.

One day I'll take a train

and travel far away.

Don't let people loose their eyes.

They keep me alive,

their sublime lunacy.

Train of life...