Murderers Are Among Us
( Die Morder sind unter uns)

Susanne Wallner, a young photographer, returns to her apartment in Berlin in 1945 after having been imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis during World War II. However, she finds that her flat has been occupied by the surgeon Dr. Hans Mertens, who has also just returned from the war. They work out an arrangement to share the apartment, even though they are terribly different people. Mertens is haunted by war memories, rendering him psychologically unable to continue to perform surgery, so he turns to excessive drinking. However, with Susanne's help, he begins to return to his prewar self, and even performs surgery on a young child to save her life. One day, Mertens meets Ferdinand Brückner, his captain during the war, who ordered, and forced Mertens to participate in, a mass execution of men, women, and children on Christmas Eve 1942. Brückner has attempted to create a life for himself as an upstanding, respected citizen after the war. However, on Christmas Eve 1945, Mertens can no longer contain his anger towards his former captain, and he pursues him into the ruins of Berlin. However, Susanne intervenes just in time, convincing Mertens to leave Brückner's fate to the decision of the courts, instead of exacting private revenge.

By looking at the background of the action in the film, it is obvious that it takes place in postwar Germany. Berlin is in ruins, among which roam many displaced persons. Susanne's apartment has been rented to someone else, due to the uncertainty of whether she would return from the concentration camp. Mertens is quite psychologically damaged by the atrocities he witnessed and was forced to participate in during the war. He must face his own guilt and control his impulses to take personal revenge on those he feels are responsible for the cruel actions, a way for him to cope with the past. It was very difficult for Germans to entrust the fate of these war criminals to the courts of law, and, although necessary, perhaps slowed the healing of the wounds from World War II.

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