Riphagen – The Untouchable


This is more than a movie review.

This movie is set during World War II – the most fascinating time of the 20th Century in terms of remaking this world, and also its most shocking time in terms of the massacre of innocent civilians (mostly Jews) in the hands of the Nazis.

A really suspenseful movie, this was also the first Dutch movie that I have seen. Andries Riphagen was a real-life Dutch gangster who sold hiding Jews to the Germans who would then send them to the gas chambers in Poland. He was a smooth talking and slick looking man who persuaded Jews to part with their valuables and properties in return for safe passage to London via Antwerp which never happened. He double-crossed all of them, and every one of these poor Jews was murdered by the German Nazi machinery. Riphagen worked closely with the German secret police (SD), and his German superiors demanded results, and Riphagen acted mercilessly.

It is an excellent movie which displays human greed more than anything else. Since the movie centers on Riphagen more than anyone else, I am not going to comment further on Nazis. While gangsters everywhere are the same (Riphagen was called Al Capone of Denmark) in terms of their behaviour and greed for money, in this sorry episode of the real Riphagen (this is a true life story), Riphagen broke his conscience, and sent hundreds of Jews to their extermination from the face of this earth, while trying to enjoy their hard-earned money and jewelry and property. If it is just stealing and cheating people out of their possessions during hard times (like the World War), it may be acceptable to human conscience. But then, if Riphagen remorselessly and shamelessly plundered innocent peoples’ belongings promising to return them to the very same people after the end of the World War, knowing full well they would not be there to claim their possessions, then that kind of behaviour depicts a demonic and very evil one, and Riphagen was a very evil and a completely soul-less man.

As is always the case, I was affected by such human movies, as was the case with my wife.

We both always wonder how such human beings could have walked this very same earth, breathed the very same air, be amongst the very same people, yet found it easy and conscience-free while murdering innocent Jews. The world can never forget the atrocities of Nazis, and the world should never forget people like Riphagen who escaped from the last Dutch police officer to have ever come near him, and took refuge in Argentina, that great hiding place of Nazis for over six decades. He escaped from Denmark/Belgium in 1945 and the Dutch Police issued his arrest warrant in 1988! He was already dead by 1973!!

Such is the world we live in. If anyone thinks that there are no such people anymore, that anyone is living in a delusion and probably hiding in a monastery in the Himalayas. There are evil people and evil countries. Without naming them, you know who these people and countries are, so I am not making an effort to do so…….the World in general is a peaceful place but for these folks and whole countries who have been indoctrinated for many decades.

Can this world be ever pure? Well, that is a topic for another time and another blog. Enjoy your weekend, and see this movie “Riphagen – The Untouchable”. Excellent low budget movie, very well directed, very well acted.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

23rd October 2016

 

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