Berlin 1942. The Forger Der Passfälscher
The young Jew Cioma Schönhaus does not allow his zest for life to be taken away, nor does he allow himself to be intimidated by anyone – certainly not by the Nazis! He takes the proverbial flight to the front. Together with his good friend Det he goes into the middle of life and among people – because in his opinion the best hiding places are where everyone is looking! With ingenuity, charm, and a good portion of chutzpah, Cioma makes his way through life, inspired by Gerda, in whom he finds not only his great love but also his master of mimicry.
His talent – the perfect forgery of passports – helps numerous people to escape, but increasingly puts himself in danger.
Directed and written by Maggie Peren, The Forger is based on the true story of Samson “Cioma” Schönhaus, a Jewish graphic artist who forged documents to help others escape the Nazis. In this illuminating drama, Hofmann embodies Schönhaus’ indomitable optimism and determination, even in the darkest moments, to focus on the light. THE FORGER recently celebrated its world premiere in the “Berlinale Special Gala” series at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival. The Forger Der Passfälscher
Samson “Cioma” Schönhaus (28 September 1922 in Berlin – 22 September 2015 in Biel-Benken) was a graphic artist and writer who lived illegally as a Jew in hiding in Berlin during World War II. He was responsible for forging hundreds of identity documents to help other Jews survive during this time. He worked closely with members of the Confessing Church, including Franz Kaufmann and Helene Jacobs. He ultimately escaped from Berlin to Switzerland by bicycle in 1943, where he remained until his death. For the escape, he used a military identity card that he had forged himself.
His memoir, “The Forger,” was published by Granta Books in 2007, translated from the German original (Der Passfälscher, published 2004).
Schönhaus was interviewed for the docudrama The Invisibles which was released after his death in 2017. The Forger Der Passfälscher
I read his book years ago and it is great storytelling. Very nice that we have now also the chance to see his amazing story, visually in cinemas.