The Swedish Silence

En svensk tiger


Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2:45pm
Plaza Frontenac Cinema

In 1943, a chance meeting on a train leads to a young SS officer, Kurt Gerstein, revealing details of the Nazi extermination campaign to Swedish diplomat Göran von Otter. “The Swedish Silence” explores the manifold questions that resulted from that exchange: Why did Gerstein choose to confide in von Otter? Why did von Otter move so slowly in informing his superiors of the encounter? And why, once informed, did the Swedish government do so little? The meeting came to haunt von Otter, shadowing not only his own life but that of his family. To dispel that darkness and shine a revealing light on what really occurred, von Otter’s daughter, Birgitta, attempts to discover what actually happened to the information he received. Eventually, she visits the German SS officer’s own daughter, Adelheid von Platen, and the two women — connected only by this brief encounter between their fathers more than 70 years ago — together explore a story about shame and personal responsibility. Powerful and well crafted, “The Swedish Silence” makes its audience think deeply about history, memory, and culpability.

92 min.
English, German & Swedish

Directed by

Carl Svensson



Film Category

International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight


Holocaust Jewish War
With director Svensson.