In Central Europe, Jews and Germans have common roots. Yet anti-Semitism separated those roots into two different, opposing trees. Today, more tan 70 years after the end of World War II, the branches of both trees are once again touching, looking to heal the wounds of history.
Liliana Hermann, grandniece of Lothar Hermann, a German of Jewish descent forced to emigrate from Europe to Argentina to escape the looming Holocaust, returns to her family’s hometown of Quirnbach, in Germany. On this journey to back to her roots, she attends a series of tributes to be held for her family. The past becomes present.
But also, in this pilgrimage, she meets Ricardo Eichmann, the son of Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the so-called ‘Final Solution.’ It was Lothar Hermann who tracked down Eichmann in Argentina, and it was thanks to his denunciations that the former Nazi officer was captured and tried for his crimes. Thus, in what would seem to be an impossible encounter, two irreconcilable histories transform THE ARBORIST into a process of healing the past.
Through the descendants’ encounter, THE ARBORIST also tells the story of their ancestors: The story of Lothar Hermann and his struggle to be heard in the midst of a silence forced by both the perpetrators and the victims themselves; of his daughter Silvia, who had to go into exile in the United States out of fear; of Adolf Eichmann and his role as the only high-ranking Reich official ever to be tried and convicted; of Nazi hunters Tuviah Friedman and Simon Wiesenthal, who were involved in various ways in the capture of Eichmann.