• Roberta Grossman
  • US
  • 2022
  • 74 min

In the aftermath of the Shoah, the unprecedented destruction and plight of survivors prompts the unthinkable – German and Jewish leaders meet in secret to grapple with the first reparations in history.

It’s been said that it felt as if the souls of the six million who were murdered during the Holocaust were in the room with them when the meetings began. They met in secret to negotiate the unthinkable – compensation for the survivors of the largest mass genocide the world had ever known. Survivors were in urgent need of help, but how could reparations be determined for the unprecedented destruction of a people and atrocities suffered by millions? Reckonings explores this fascinating true story set in the aftermath of the Holocaust and leading to the groundbreaking Luxembourg Agreements of 1952.

Director´s Statement:
"When asked to direct Reckonings, the story of the groundbreaking Luxembourg Agreements, I welcomed the opportunity to investigate not the Holocaust itself, but the aftermath for survivors, the Jewish world and Germany.
The story goes far beyond the Holocaust and could not be more relevant to the current day.The Luxembourg Agreements, signed in 1952 by three entities that didn’t even exist before the war (Israel, West Germany and the Claims Conference) set in motion the very first reparations ever paid by a state to individuals they harmed.
This unprecedented achievement would never have happened save for the efforts of visionary individuals who overcome all odds to do the impossible – to sit across the table from representatives of the very people who had committed the greatest genocide in history. They did it to help the survivors who, as one negotiator said, “lost everything. They had only the tattoos on their arms.” It also required the foresight of leaders on the German side, who had the courage to face and acknowledge their country’s unfathomably evil acts and open themselves up to a reckoning.
Reckonings explores the impact of compensation on the survivors, Israel and on Germany itself. As one interviewee states: “In the last seventy years, we have discovered that reparations not only help the victims, but the perpetrators as well. An honest confrontation with your past is the best way to build a better future.”
I hope that Reckonings can provide some hope for solutions to seemingly intractable problems."

(Text: Go2Films)

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original title Reckonings

international title Reckonings

german title Reckonings


  • director Roberta Grossman

country/countries US

year 2022

duration 74 min

Portrait of Roberta Grossman

Roberta Grossman

BIO An award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice, Roberta Grossman has written, directed and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. What sets her films apart are high production values, beautiful cinematic craftsmanship and inspiring protagonists. Grossman’s films tell stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the name of justice. According to Grossman, “making a documentary is like pushing Sisyphus’ rock up a steep mountain. The only way to summit is to have a sense of personal responsibility to tell a story that would otherwise remain untold.” Grossman most recently wrote, produced and directed Who Will Write Our History (2018) about Emanuel Ringelblum and the secret archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, co- produced by Arte and NDR. Also in 2018, Grossman co-directed and produced the Netflix Original Documentary Seeing Allred, about women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. Seeing Allred premiered in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was described as “remarkably engaging” (The New York Times), “utterly fascinating” (CNET) and “an ideal companion to the #MeToo movement” (Variety). Grossman is currently producing Vishniac. In 2014, Grossman directed Above and Beyond for producer Nancy Spielberg, about the American–Jewish WWII pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in the 1948 War. That film won the audience award at more than 20 film festivals worldwide. Grossman’s 2012 Hava Nagila (The Movie), which used the song as a portal into 150 years of Jewish history, culture and spirituality, was the opening or closing night film at more than 30 film festivals. Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, Grossman’s 2008 film was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won audience awards at 13 film festivals, aired on PBS/Independent Lens and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Grossman also produced Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning, which aired on PBS/American Masters in 2014, and executive produced On the Map in 2016 for director Dani Menkin. Grossman was the series producer and co-writer of 500 Nations, the eight-hour CBS series on Native Americans hosted by Kevin Costner. Her film Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action, aired on PBS in 2005. Grossman is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She is a three-time recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with an M.A. in film from the American Film Institute.