Conspiracy (2001 film)

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Conspiracy is a 2001 film directed by Frank Pierson and starring Kenneth Branagh, Stanley Tucci, and Colin Firth.

One Of The Greatest Crimes Against Humanity Was Perpetrated In Just Over An Hour. taglines


  • [opening narration] Adolf Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, starting World War II. By the winter of 1942, his armies were freezing and starving in the snows of Russia, where his best general had died of a heart attack, and America had entered the war. For the first time, Hitler's dream of a German empire that would last a thousand years was in doubt. While he hired and fired generals and the winter grew colder, fifteen of his officials were ordered from their commands and ministries to meet at a quiet lakeside house in Wannsee in Berlin, far from the crisis at the front. In two hours, these men changed the world forever. Only one record of what was said and done here survives from the wreckage of what was "the Thousand-Year Reich".
  • [closing narration] Colonel Eichmann carefully edited the stenotype record of the conference. Copies were distributed to the participants to be read, and then destroyed. General Heydrich flew back to his headquarters in Czechoslovakia, where in a few terrible weeks, he had earned the nickname "the Butcher of Prague". In the spring, two Czech patriots, trained to assassinate him and dropped from a British bomber, succeeded in wounding him. In reprisal, thousands of Czechs were rounded up and shot. Heydrich's wounds grew infected, he fell into a coma and died. Eichmann, as Heydrich's deputy for Jewish affairs, was left to finish what they had begun at Wannsee. He considered it a matter of honor.

Reinhard Heydrich[edit]

  • Today, each of us becomes a bearer of secrets.
  • All of Europe, England, from Lapland to Libya, from Vladivostok to Belfast, no Jews. Not one.
  • We will not sterilize every Jew and wait for them to die. We will not sterilize every Jew and then exterminate the race. That's farcical. Dead men don't hump, dead women don't get pregnant. Death is the most reliable form of sterilization, put it that way.
  • The machinery is waiting — feed it. Get them on the trains, keep the trains rolling, and history will honor us for having the will and the vision to advance the human race to greater purity in a space of time so short Charles Darwin would be astonished.

Adolf Eichmann[edit]

  • This meeting is not taking place. You are to take no further phone calls from anyone - at all - unless the Führer calls. [long pause] And he won't.
  • [to Dr. Klopfer, when asked about how he can speak "Jewish"] Well, I lived among them, I worked among them, and I picked up a few words; Jewish, Yiddish, not enough to speak. So I went in search of a rabbi. Rabbi means "teacher", I came to find out. Look, may I tell you the Lord's honest truth? So many of our highest-ranking officers, whose responsibility it is to deal with the Israelites, they make no attempt to get inside the Jewish head. I went to visit this rabbi - old man, long beard - in his one-room flat. And when he saw me, his eyes grew as large as hen's eggs. I asked him to teach me his language, and he agreed. He said that he would, but that he would charge me, of course. I applied to my commander for funds, and I was denied; now, I've run into this opposition all my life, so I paid my own money. Very little, not much. And he taught me some vocabulary, letters of the alphabet. But looking back, I realize it was poor judgment on my part, because I could have so easily had the old man arrested, put into prison, and demanded lessons from him, in his cell, free of charge. One day, he had gone out, and was rounded up and shipped off, because he had gone out unadvisedly. And I thought, that's so stupid... why are they so stupid? Didn't he know that I would have protected him? [pause] At least until my lessons were complete.
  • Now, last summer Reichsführer Himmler asked me to visit a camp up in Upper Silesia, called Auschwitz, which is very well isolated, and close to significant rail access. And we are turning that camp into a major center, solid structures, and here's where your Jewish labor comes into play, Herr Neumann: the Jews haul the bricks and they build the buildings themselves. And when the structures are complete, we expect to be able to process 2500... an hour. Not a day, an hour.

Dr. Roland Freisler[edit]

  • [to Dr. Meyer, regarding the Russians] The Russian is not a communist, my friend. The Russian does not give a damn who runs things. I have lived amongst them. The Russian only cares he has a bottle of vodka to suck and some form of domestic animal life to fuck, then he will happily sit in shit his whole life. That is his politics. I know those people. That is the distinction; I absolve the Jews of that!
  • The Jews go in red and come out pink. Now that is progress!


Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart: It is very very complex, these laws. A lot of time and thought has been put to them, and some of these here... well, you notice all the SS. They have little idea what is lawful, and no respect for what they do know.
Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger: No, certainly not these gentlemen. To them, laws are like ice cream: easily melted. I sus-- [pauses as an SS orderly goes by] I suspect that is why this meeting, which is under my department after all, is being called by the SS. Do you know?
Stuckart: Only what the invitation suggested.
Kritzinger: [sighs] They always want to meet. The SS love to meet. And they always want something more. Though they have everything.

Undersecretary Martin Luther: Sir, this is Neumann, Director of the Four Year Plan, a close associate of Reichsmarshal Goering. Neumann, I introduce Dr. Klopfer, a close associate of the Brown Eminence.
Erich Neumann: Brown... excuse me?
Dr. Gerhard Klopfer: I represent Martin Bormann, the Party Chairman... of the Thousand Year Plan.

[Heydrich opens the meeting]
Gen. Reinhard Heydrich: At the risk of sounding like the first day at summer camp, let us go around the table and introduce ourselves, for those who do not know others. I shall save myself for last and start with General Müller.
Gen. Heinrich Müller: Major General Heinrich Müller, SS Gestapo.
Klopfer: Klopfer, representing the Party, that is who I speak for.
Kritzinger: I am Kritzinger, Ministerial Director of the Reich Chancellery. I appreciate being called, but I wonder why I'm here. The topic to be discussed, the coordination of the Jewish question, I believe, was resolved.
Heydrich: It will be.
Kritzinger: With the Führer stating to me and to my superior, General Lammers --
Heydrich: [firmly] It will be. So...
Gen. Otto Hofmann: General Hofmann, Race and Settlement Main Office. We deal with matters of... race and settlement.
Dr. Georg Liebbrandt: [looks up] Is it me? Liebbrandt, the political office of the ministry for all we hold and administer in eastern Poland, the Baltics, and in the Soviet Union --
Dr. Alfred Meyer: And I am the state secretary for the ministry as a whole.
Stuckart: [impatiently] Give them your name.
Meyer: Meyer, Doctor. Sorry.
Stuckart: Stuckart, Interior Ministry.
Luther: Martin Luther, undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry.
Neumann: I met almost everybody. My name is Neumann, director, Office of the Four Year Plan.
Dr. Rudolf Lange: Lange, deputy commander of SS task forces in Latvia... among other things.
Heydrich: Oh, we all have "other things".
Dr. Josef Bühler: I'm Josef Bühler, secretary of state for the General Government of German-occupied Poland.
Heydrich: How cold is it up there?
Bühler: Better Krakow than Warsaw.
Luther: Now that it is run by Germans, you should be spared those Polish winters. [chuckles]
Col. Karl Schöngarth: Not the case. Schöngarth, SS, assigned to the General Government.
Dr. Roland Freisler: Dr. Freisler, Ministry of Justice; also I hold rank in the Stormtroopers. So, that is who I am.
Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann: Adolf Eichmann, SS Gestapo, Office of Jewish Affairs, and that should be... yes, that's all.
Heydrich: And I am Heydrich, SS, Chief of Reich Security Main Office and Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. And, welcome.

Heydrich: Emigration. The policy that will take the place of emigration, and we have collected enough practical experience to do it well, is evacuation.
Hofmann: Which differs from emigration in what way? Evacuation to where?
Heydrich: Let us postpone that question for a while.
Klopfer: To hell, one hopes.
Lange: Many already have.
Luther: Do they even have a hell?
Heydrich: They do now. We provide it.

Heydrich: My friend, I have read your recommendations. I appreciate the effort and the thought.
Luther: I heard some of what I wrote in what you already said.
Heydrich: I think not.

Lange: I have the real feeling that I "evacuated" 30,000 Jews already by shooting them, at Riga. [Eichmann gestures to the stenographer to stop recording] Is what I did "evacuation"? When they fell, were they "evacuated"? There are another 20,000, at least, awaiting similar "evacuation". I just think it is helpful to know what words mean, with all respect. [Kritzinger thumps the table in approval]
Eichmann: [to Heydrich, in a low voice] If I might, I think it's unnecessary to burden the record --
Heydrich: [abruptly] Yes. In my personal opinion, they are evacuated.
Kritzinger: Explain!
Heydrich: I have just done so.
Kritzinger: That is not -- no, that is contrary to what the Chancellery has been told! I have directly been assured, I have, that... Purge the Jews, yes. But, to annihilate them, that we have undertaken to systematically annihilate all the Jews of Europe? No... that possibility has personally been denied, to me, by the Führer!
Heydrich: And it will continue to be.
Kritzinger: [stands abruptly, stares out the window...after a long pause, turns back] Yes, I understand. Yes... he will continue to deny it.
Heydrich: My apologies. Do you accept my apologies?
Kritzinger: [pause] Of course.
Heydrich: [sotto voce] So very kind.

Müller: Perhaps the judge has a special love for them?
Klopfer: Yes, yes, a special love for them...
Stuckart: For who? For Jews? Wonderful, you don't have my credentials. Forgive me, from your uniform I can infer you're shallow, ignorant and naive about the Jews. Your line and what the party rants on about, how inferior they are, some sub-species, and I keep saying how wrong that is! They are sublimely clever. And they are intelligent as well. My indictments to that race are stronger and heavier because they are real, not your uneducated ideology. They are arrogant, and self-obsessed, and calculating, and reject the Christ and I will NOT have them pollute German blood!
Heydrich: Please, Doctor--
Stuckart: He doesn't understand! And neither do his people. Deal with the reality of the Jew, and the world will applaud us. Treat them as imaginary phantoms, evil inhuman fantasies, and the world will have justified contempt for us! To kill them casually without regard for the law martyrs them, which will be their victory! Sterilization recognizes them as a part of our species but prevents them from being a part of our race. They'll disappear soon enough, and we will have acted in defense of our race, and of our species, and by the law! This fellow here mentioned the law for the protection of German blood-- I wrote that law! And when you have my credentials, then we'll talk about who loves the Jews and who hates them. Pigs don't know how to hate. I note, too, that when it comes to the half-mixed, that to kill them abandons that half of their blood which is German.
Klopfer: [menacingly] I'll remember you.
Stuckart: You should. I'm very well known.

Stuckart: If you are suggesting that you have dominion over me, just remember this: Even the Party, which I have served loyally since 1922, answers to the government.
Klopfer: They both answer to the Führer. You may be a friend of Goering, but if you're a betting man, put your money on Bormann.

Heydrich: We will accomplish this. I will not allow administrative technicalities to slow it down. Every agency will jump to follow my order, or asses will sting. And there are no shortage of meathooks on which to hang enemies of the State. [lights a cigarette] This will be an SS operation. And as the war goes on, the SS will more and more command the agenda, and put marks against the names of the less-than-cooperative. You have a choice to make.
Stuckart: Well, you understand that I respect the...
Heydrich: Please... you will still have to make your choice. Do not let a strutting, imbecilic, porcine prick like Klopfer make it for you. I do not wish to see the bullies - I admit, we have more of our share of them in the SS - take too much of an interest in you.
Stuckart: Interest in me...?
Heydrich: Do you not think? And all I want from this meeting is unanimity, and no trouble getting what has to be done, done. With you at my side, so much is possible.

Neumann: I've done this arithmetic. The real size of the labor force is already a million less than the figures show.
Leibbrandt: The economic considerations are not the only considerations, you see.
Neumann: I'll say they are not. Have you done the extrapolations?
Leibbrandt: My friend, with due respect, may I say, "Fuck the extrapolations"?

Bühler: [referring to Heydrich] From where he sits, he does not have the ghettos or the stink...and he's burglarizing administrative control from the Governor-General, clearly.
Schöngarth: Privileges of rank.
Meyer: I don't hear any urgency...
Schöngarth: Privileges of rank! The higher you go, the more infallibility is bestowed.
Meyer: Alright, but I don't hear any cut-the-bureaucracy solutions. Our problems... [to Bühler] You're right. He does not have our problems.
Bühler: Crap! "The privileges of rank". All that matters is if you have the SS blood group tattooed under your arm. That's a secret password for you people.
Schöngarth: Oh, what are these suspicions?
Bühler: I will tell you this: When cholera hits the ghettos, and typhoid, your little tattoos won't protect you from shitting your guts out non-stop until you dry up and die. Then tell me about "infallibility".

Kritzinger: You are Lange?
Lange: Yes, sir.
Kritzinger: Who were those 30,000 you say you shot - when you say "you shot"...
Lange: In Riga, Latvia. 27,800 I have some responsibility for. I stood by with my men and allowed Latvian civilians killed in mobs. I received memos directing the... one would say "evacuation" of Jews who, shot and buried in soil and corpses, managed to crawl out, still alive. Not exactly war, is it? And gas chambers about to come?
Kritzinger: What gas chambers? Gas chambers?
Lange: I hear rumors, yes?
Kritzinger: This is... more than war. There must be a different word for this.
Lange: Try "chaos".
Kritzinger: Yes... the rest is argument. The curse of my profession.
Lange: I studied law as well.
Kritzinger: [incredulous] How do you apply that education to what you do?
Lange: It has made me distrustful of language. A gun means what it says.

[After speaking to Kritzinger, Lange looks out the window at the frozen Lake Wannsee]
Heydrich: Beautiful lake. [Lange turns, startled] I'm sorry. After the war, I shall live in this house, and rise to see that lake every day. And dream... comforting things. I am a dreamer, as I think you are.
Lange: Yes, it is a dream world.
Heydrich: Ah, Major Lange, how can I help you... politics is a nasty game. I think soldiering requires the discipline to do the unthinkable and politics requires the skill to get someone else to do the unthinkable for you. But we need the politics, so we put up with them. At least for now.
Lange: Yes.
Heydrich: We look forward to a better day... a peaceful world. A German culture triumphant. That is what we work for.
Lange: I appreciate the words, sir.
Heydrich: We are servant-soldiers, are we not?
Lange: Yes, that is what we are.
Heydrich: Indeed.

Klopfer: I take it you don't get good food like this up in Krakow?
Bühler: If all of Berlin eats like you, it's no wonder we have shortages.

Heydrich: You drink, Eichmann?
Eichmann: Yes, sir.
Heydrich: Are you ever drunk?
Eichmann: [wary pause] From time to time.
Heydrich: Well, then... take a fucking drink.
Eichmann: Well, I am on duty, sir.
Heydrich: Well, then, it's an order.

Müller: What was that story you were going to tell me?
Heydrich: Story?
Müller: Kritzinger.
Heydrich: Oh yes, he told me a story about a man he had known all his life, a boyhood friend. This man hated his father. Loved his mother fiercely. His mother was devoted to him, but his father used to beat him, demeaned him, disenherited him. Anyway, this friend grew to manhood and was still in his thirties when the mother died. The mother, who had nurtured and protected him, died. The man stood at her grave as they lowered the coffin, and tried to cry, but no tears came. The man's father lived to a very extended old age, and withered away and died when the son was in his fifties. At the father's funeral, much to the son's surprise, he could not control his tears. Wailing, sobbing... he was apparently inconsolable. Lost. That was the story Kritzinger told me.
Eichmann: I don't think I understand.
Heydrich: No? [Eichmann shakes his head] The man had been driven his whole life by hatred of his father. When the mother died, that was a loss, but when the father died, and the hate had lost its object, the man's life was empty... over.
Müller: [pause] Interesting.
Heydrich: That was Kritzinger's warning.
Eichmann: What, that we should not hate the Israelites?
Heydrich: No, but that it should not fill our lives so much that, when they are gone, we have nothing left to live for. So says the story. I will not miss them.


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