The Aryan Couple
|The Aryan Couple|
Region 2 DVD cover
|Directed by||John Daly|
|Music by||Igor Khoroshev|
|Distributed by||Atlantic Film Productions|
|Release dates||December 10, 2004|
|Running time||120 min.|
The Aryan Couple, released on home video in the U.S. as The Couple, is a 2004 Anglo-American drama directed by John Daly for Atlantic Film Productions. The film's story line is set in 1944, during World War II, and is about a Jewish Hungarian industrialist who, in order to ensure his large family's safe passage out of the Third Reich, is forced to hand over his business and his enormously valuable possessions to the Nazis. The plot is loosely based on the life events of Hungarian Jewish industrialist Manfred Weiss.
- Martin Landau – Joseph Krauzenberg, a very wealthy Hungarian Jewish industrial tycoon
- Judy Parfitt – Rachel Krauzenberg, Joseph's wife
- Kenny Doughty – Hans Vassman, a Jew posing as an Aryan working in Krauzenberg's household
- Caroline Carver – Ingrid Vassman, posing as Aryan in Krauzenberg's household and like Hans working for the Resistance
- Danny Webb – Heinrich Himmler
- Christopher Fulford – Edelhein, a Nazi officer
- Steven Mackintosh – Adolf Eichmann
Joseph Krauzenberg (Martin Landau) is a very wealthy Hungarian Jewish industrial tycoon whose fortune is mirrored in the great palaces he owns. However, by 1944 his important businesses are needed by the Nazis and Hitler's 'Final Solution' is sweeping through Europe.
The Nazi's are greedy to accumulate wealth as easily as possible, and under the terms of the Third Reich's "Europa Plan", Krauzenberg arranges with Nazi leaders to exchange his fortune, his business holdings (textile plants, steel mills, ownership of several banks) and a collection of rare art for safe passage to Switzerland for himself, his wife Rachel (Judy Parfitt), and their family. As the night of transaction approaches, Krauzenberg visits his large family being held by the Gestapo, and reassures them that all will be safe.
Such is Krauzenberg's wealth and power that when he agrees to sign over his property, it is two of the most powerful men in the Nazi regime who announce they will be coming to his house to handle the paperwork – Adolf Eichmann (Steven Mackintosh) and Heinrich Himmler (Danny Webb).
However, as the Nazi leaders are ushered into Krauzenberg's home, they are struck by something unusual – his two most trusted servants, Hans Vassmann (Kenny Doughty) and his wife Ingrid (Caroline Carver) are a married Aryan couple who, despite the law, are still working for Jews.
As it happens, Eichmann and Himmler's suspicions are well-founded – despite appearing to be the perfect Aryan couple, Hans and Ingrid are actually Jews working deep undercover with the underground Resistance. Young, married, in love and expecting their first child, they work as valet and maid for the elderly Jewish couple. They have everything to look forward to or so they would have believed.
In a sub-plot one of the officers, Edelhein (Christopher Fulford), the most repulsive of the group, pursues Ingrid Vassman – despite her pregnancy – as a perfect foil for implanting his precious seed in the 'Aryan beauty' to populate the new Germany.
As they serve the Nazis in their secret mission, Hans and Ingrid toy with the idea that they should kill Eichmann and Himmler for the greater good, even if it would mean certain death for the Krauzenbergs and themselves. Instead, the Vassmans, who express their admiration for the Krauzenbergs, ultimately confessing that they are Jewish and wish to escape with the Krauzenbergs, place their fate in the hands of the Krauzenbergs. Nothing can be done immediately – "if we had known we could have placed you on the list of people to come with us".
On his way to the plane that is to take him and his family to the safety of Switzerland, Josef Krauzenberg makes a deal with Dressler, a German Captain. Though we do not know what it is, he deceives Eichmann, and gives the Vassmans the means to escape.
In the final climactic scene, the Vassmans are confronted at the last checkpoint before Switzerland by Edelhein, who has discovered Dressler's treachery and has pursued them for the so-called murder of a German soldier, and of course for being Jews. However, the Reichsfuhrer himself, hearing of the events, and wanting to avoid any blooshed that could reveal his plot concerning the Krauzenbergs to a wider audience, has sent word that they should be allowed to pass freely and safely. Angered that he has lost his chance to 'plant his seed' in Ingrid, Edelhein, regardless of the Reichsfuhrer's orders, attempts to stop them passing. This results in his demise at the hands of the commanding Major, who shoots him dead before he manages to harm them.
The film ends with the couple being reunited safely in Switzerland with the Krauzenbergs.
While The Aryan Couple is fictional, it was inspired by actual events, and the existence of the "Europa Plan" has been documented, though no one appears to have been saved from death through its application.