The Jewish International Film Festival takes place 12-25 March 15 at the Elsternwick Classic Cinema, 9 Gordon Street Elsternwick ((03) 9524 7900).
Among the 34 Films on offer, there is also a Swiss Film; One Step to Freedom or Akte Grüninger from 2013. This film was directed by Alain Gsponder, with Stefan Kurt, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Anatole Taubman, Patrick Rapold and Ursina Lardi. Drama, 96 min, Swiss German/E subtitles.
Book your tickets by clicking on the desired date or visit the website of the Jewish International Film Festival for the program of all 34 films on offer.
Akte Grüninger Screening Dates:
Who was Paul Grüninger?
Paul Grüninger, who was born in 1891 in St Gallen, was a Swiss Police Commander, a talented football player, who together with his team Brühl, St Gallen was Swiss Football Champion in 1915.
In World War II, during the years 1938/1939, Captain Paul Grüninger, then St. Gallen’s Chief of Police, saved several hundred Jewish and other refugees’ lives from Nazi persecution and extermination. Although Switzerland had closed its borders, he allowed them to enter the canton of St. Gallen, thus disregarding federal directives and even violating legal acts in order to protect the refugees.
In 1939 Paul Grüninger was dismissed without notice by the cantonal government and thus his pension rights. A year later, he was convicted by the district court of St. Gallen of violating the duties of his office and of falsifying legal documents. He was ostracized and later forgotten. Due to his criminal record, he struggled for the rest of his life to make a living and ended up living in poverty. Paul Grüninger died on 22 February 1972.
In 1993, the government of St Gallen rehabilitated Paul Grüninger politically. This was followed b the Swiss Federal Government issuing a declaration in 1940, clearing Paul Grüninger’s name publicly. In 1995, the district court of St. Gallen rehabilitated Captain Paul Grüninger judicially by reopening his trial and by acquitting him. The cantonal parliament of St. Gallen approved in 1998 a financial disbursement and granted his descendants compensation for the losses in salaries and pension claims caused by his dismissal without notice. The entire sum was turned over to the Paul Grüninger Foundation by the descendants.
The foundation offers periodically a prize for outstanding humanity and outstanding courage. The Paul Grüninger Prize is entirely financed by this fund.
The stadium of Brühl St. Gallen is named after him.
Grüningers Fall, a 1997 Swiss documentary film
Akte Grüninger – Film 2013
Sources: Paul Grüninger Stiftung, The Jewish Foundation for the righteous, yadvashem,