The German action-drama ‘Blood and Gold’ is not necessarily a war film. Set in the spring of 1945, it revolves around a deserter from the German military, Heinrich (Robert Maaser). While making his way to Hagen to reunite with his daughter Lottchen, Heinrich is apprehended by the officers of the SS, who hang him and leave him to die a slow death. Fortunately, a local young woman, Elsa (Marie Hacke), rescues him and takes him to her farm. When the SS officers come seeking provisions and attempt to rape Elsa, Heinrich saves her. It is revealed that the SS is there to find the gold left behind by a Jewish family, the Löwensteins. If you are wondering whether Löwenstein’s gold was real, here is what we know. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What is Löwenstein’s Gold?
In Blood and Gold, when SS lieutenant colonel von Starnfeld arrives in the village of Sonnenberg, it’s the tail end of the conflict, and most of the German population has accepted that they would lose the war. However, there are still people like von Starnfeld who believe that Germany can still turn things around. Told from the German perspective, ‘Blood and War depicts how indoctrinated even small places like Sonnenberg became.
The Löwensteins were the only Jewish family in Sonnenberg, and they had a more or less harmonious relationship until things started to change. The Mayor of the town was the most vocal, claiming that they had to fulfill their duties as National Socialists. Referring to the Jewish family with derogatory words, he declared that the village had no place for them.
Sometime before the Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, which took place on November 9-10, 1938, Johannes, the eldest son of the Löwensteins, returned home. He was living in Essen at the time and married a girl from a wealthy merchant family there. Johannes took over their company, but when Germany started to change, he presumably sold the said company in exchange for several gold bars. His plan was to leave for Palestine ad take his family with him. However, his parents refused, as they ardently believed that Germany was their home.
On Kristallnacht, a large mob of the former neighbors of the Löwensteins attacked their home. Even the words of the local preacher didn’t calm them down. Mayor Robert Schlick and his associates — Sonja, Wilhelm Reinkober, and Wirtz — took the gold and hid in a grave, after they led the mob in killing the Löwensteins and burning their house down. In their retelling, the priest and the widow speculate that Johannes and his wife were arrested before they could set sail for Palestine. This explains how the SS found out about the gold and came to Sonnenberg in search of it. Ultimately, everyone seeking the gold perishes, and it ends up in the hands of a group of American soldiers, who decide not to report it to their superiors.
Was Löwenstein’s Gold Real in Germany?
No, the Löwenstein’s gold wasn’t real. Director Peter Thorwarth developed ‘Blood and Stone’ from a script by Stefan Barth. In an interview with TV Movie, Thorwarth dubbed his film “a spaghetti western in the classic sense.” According to him, this is the type of film he and his collaborators grew up watching. “There’s a certain responsibility in that, of course, but I didn’t see it as a burden,” he explained. “I make all my films the way I think is right. That might sound a bit lofty, but when I’m on the set, I can’t presume what might please whom and why. I have to rely on my intuition. Only when I’m 100 percent convinced of something can I project my genuine enthusiasm onto the team and ultimately onto the screen or screen.”