Walking with the Enemy is a 2014 American action drama film directed by Mark Schmidt, and scripted by Kenny Golde and Mark Schmidt. The film stars Jonas Armstrong, Ben Kingsley, Simon Kunz, Hannah Tointon, Simon Dutton, Burn Gorman, and Charles Hubbell. It is inspired by the true story of Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum.
Set in Budapest and nearby villages, it depicts the German occupation of Hungary during the final months of the Second World War. The story is about a young man, Elek Cohen (played by Jonas Armstrong) who dons an SS uniform to pose as an officer to find out the fate of his family and to rescue fellow Jews from the Holocaust.
In Budapest, Hungary, head of state Regent Miklós Horthy (Ben Kingsley) was trapped between the Russians on the east and the Nazis from Germany on the west. He was forced to join the Axis in 1941. The first massacre of Hungarian Jews occurred in August that year. After a defeat on the Eastern Front in 1943, Hitler demanded that the regent punish the 800,000 still living in Hungary and insisted that 10,000 Jews be for supplied for slave labor. This is where Walking with the Enemy begins.
When the Nazi presence and anti-Semitic laws increase in Budapest, Jewish radio repair shop owner Jozsef (Simon Kunz) sends home the two young men who work for him, Elek Cohen (Jonas Armstrong) and Ferenc Jacobson (Mark Wells). They obtain forged baptismal certificates from a Catholic priest and urge their families to use them to escape Hungary when they themselves are forced to join the Hungarian labor service, in which Jewish men are brutally treated, shot if they cannot keep up or are injured while doing work.
Meanwhile, Carl Lutz (William Hope) runs the Swiss diplomatic office at the Glass House in Budapest. Supposedly, anyone with a Swiss passport can safely leave Hungary for Switzerland. He was given permission to issue 8,000 passes to individual Jews, but he interpreted this to mean families, and printed and numbered the passes accordingly.
When Elek and Ferenc escape from the labor forces, they find their way back home and discover their families have been sent away. Elek's home has been ransacked, and he finds the baptismal certificates taped to the back of a family photo that he saves. Horty secretly negotiates with Stalin for Hungary's surrender to the Allies, but the Nazis learn of this and he is overthrown. In his place the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party assumes power, and their militia help the Nazis rounding up Jews.
On instinct, Elek and Ferenc start to do anything to save Jewish families and eventually begin to work with Lutz. Before the Nazis focused on eliminating the Jews from Hungary, Elek met a Jewish girl named Hannah (Hannah Tointon). One evening some time later, Nazi officers follow her to where many Jews, including Elek, are hiding. Elek kills them before they can rape Hannah. Later, Elek, who speaks fluent German, and Ferenc dig up the bodies of the Nazi officers and take their uniforms. For months, their fearless impersonation of Nazi officers allows them to pretend to round up Jews for transport while saving thousands by redirecting them to safe houses. Once there, in care of the Swiss (and in at least one case, a convent) the Jews begin their journey to freedom.
At its conclusion, the film leaps ahead thirteen years, to 1957. Elek has emigrated to New York City and is shown at a festival family occasion.
Two trailers were released on April 22, 2014. The film received mixed reviews, with a 44% critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes.
This movie was inspired by true events and the movie postscripts read: "This film was inspired by the courage of Pinchas Rosenbaum whose passports and rescue missions saved thousands of lives. His family was murdered in Auschwitz along with 500,000 Hungarian Jews. SS Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny surrendered to the US Army. After trials and reprieves, he died in 1975. Dieter Wisliceny was hanged in 1948 for war crimes. Ferenc Szalasi was hanged in 1946 for war crimes and high treason. Arrow Cross Captain Kovarcz was hanged in 1946 for war crimes. Aldolf Eichman escaped to Argentina and was later captured by Israeli agents. He was convicted for crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962. Regent Horthy and his son were held in German imprisonments until after the war. They never returned to Hungary due to Russian occupation and died in Portugal in 1957 and 1993. Carl Lutz established the Swiss Legion (The Glass House) and is honored for the lives he saved. He died in 1976. After the war, Mr. Rosenbaum seldom spoke of his heroic deeds. He died in 1980 and his wife died in 2010. They are survived by three children. In 2005, [a] memorial of bronzed shoes was dedicated in Budapest to honor the victims murdered during the Nazi and Arrow Cross terror.