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  • Genre: documentary film
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Production: Deriva Film srl, Petrus van der Let Filmproduction.
  • Broadcaster: History Channel (Sky Italy), BRalpha, WDR.
  • Director: Monica Repetto

The True Story of Marianne Golz


Ronnie Golz was born in London in 1947. Ronnie is Jewish, but was brought up by his parents as a perfect Englishman. After his father’s death he discovers that his mother Ida had not been his father’s only love. In 1929 his father Hans had married Marianne, a beautiful Viennese opera singer. Following the obsession for this woman whom his father loved very much, but of whom he was never able to speak to his son about, Ronnie begins a search to cast light upon the interrupted memory. Sinking into the nazi evil that has destroyed the lives of many of his relatives, Ronnie travels from Berlin to Vienna to Prague. He meets people, sees and photographs places, and finds lost letters. Little by little, the story of Marianne takes shape: her role, her loves, her delusions, her impulses, until the tragic end: imprisonment and death by guillotine in 1943.


When Ronnie Golz takes his tour through the streets of Berlin, his Mercedes makes various stops. Many depend on the tourists that are aboard. The goals? Museums of memory, statues, nameplates, and work of arts that indicate places where there were synagogues, cemeteries, and houses from which Jews were deported and then assassinated. In some manner Ronnie Golz himself is a type of living museum, a man without rest. The wandering Jew that always returns to the scene of the crime. There were everything begun.
One morning, in a dreary public office in Berlin, Ronnie finds himself reading in a dossier, the paragraph in which his father Hans who passed away a few years ago, speaks of his first very loved wife Marianne, an opera singer of great success in the ‘20s in Vienna. Ronnie remains fascinated. He wants to know more about this woman without whom his father would probably have died and he would never have been born.

The trip “in search of Marianne” begins in Berlin: from the book, J’accuse written by the Czech Karel, photographer in the Pancraz prison. Marianne had entrusted her clandestine correspondence to him.
Ronnie searches in Prague for the relatives of Karel the photographer, but in vain. He goes to Vienna where he meets his niece Erika Reimer-Haala, and discovers in the bottom of a drawer a pile of forgotten letters. He finds Erna Steiner, arrested by the Gestapo with her mother together with Marianne, the night of November 19th 1942.
Little by little the heroic and tragic life of Marianne Golz comes to light.In 1934, following Hitler’s rise to power, Marianna leaves Berlin and takes refuge with her husband Hans in Prague. Beautiful, full of energy and vitality Marianne, not a Jew, begins to help groups of Jews to leave Czechoslovakia by providing false documentation. Her papers are in order, she could follow her husband to London, but at the outbreak of the war in 1939 she is forced to stay in Prague. In 1940, Hans meets a Jewish refugee in London, Ida Reiss, and falls in love with her. Ronnie was born from this union in 1947.
In Prague, Marianne continues to rescue Jews. Saving them as well as their heritage with the help of Sister Rosi in Vienna. Nevertheless, her luck runs out. In 1942, Marianne is betrayed, imprisoned by the Gestapo and sentenced to death. In prison she meets Richard Macha. They only meet twice, but they fall madly in love. By exchanging clandestine letters and notes their story lives on, platonic and harrowing. Up until the end Marianne hopes to save herself. When she realizes that grace will never arrive, she attempts suicide. They save her only to carry her to the executioner semi-unconscious. The 8th of October of 1943 at 4:34pm, Marianne Golz was guillotined. She was 48 years old. Her story would have remained unbeknownst to us, if Ronnie had not come across the letters with the testimony his father had to give to the offices of the Agency of Restitution in Berlin for German Jews harmed by Nazism. The Federal Republic of Germany discerned to Hans Golz 1500 marks in compensation for the detention of his wife Marianne in Prague between the 19th of November of 1942 and 4:43 pm on the 8th of October 1943.

Creative Team

  • Director and Head of Development: Monica Repetto
  • Co-Head of Development: Pietro Balla
  • Historian Consultant: Marcella Filippa
  • Director of Photography: Stefano Pancaldi
  • Editing: Walter Fasano
  • Music: Gian Maria Testa
  • Production Manager: Elisa Alvarez
  • Assistant Director and Development: Emanuela Tomassetti

Deriva Film Profile

Deriva film is an independent film and tv production company founded by Monica Repetto and Pietro Balla. Deriva develops, produces and distributes documentaries, short films and concerts, as well as television formats, programmes and contents for new media. Presently, the company is engaged in docufiction projects and full-length films.
In addition to various on-air programmes with leading Italian networks and satellite channels, Deriva’s portfolio includes prize winning documentaries and short films acclaimed by the press (e.g. Jury prize at the Torino Film Festival for the documentary Derive Gallizio). Amongst the more recent productions there is the popular series of documentaries Loves in Flames, dedicated to famous couples from the world of entertainment and culture of the ‘50s to the ‘70s, presented on La7. Currently, Deriva specializes in the production of docu-fiction, such as “Casa Pappalardo” (Rai 2), and the living-history programme “I campioni di Olimpia” (Arte, History Channel).

Deriva Film and its partners have regularly provided programmes to the Rai, La7, Tele+, Planete (Italy, France, Poland, Spain), Canal Jimmy, Cineclassic, Rai Sat Show, Rai Sat Art, Sky.

Director and Head of Development

In the 1990’s Monica Repetto authored several television programmes and docufiction projects (e.g. Casa Pappalardo aired on Rai2, Destinazione Serie aired on Canal Jimmy.) She also directed and wrote screenplays for short films and documentaries that were presented in national and international festivals (e.g. Derive Gallizio, which won the special mention of merit from the jury at the Torino Film Festival in 2000; the documentary series Loves in Flames, aired on La7; and Panico Jodorowsky, aired on Canal Jimmy.) Presently, Monica Repetto is writing the screenplay for a film in addition to working while on the pre-production phase of a docu-drama. Journalist and publicist by training, she is the author of numerous essays and publications on cinema, and collaborates with the weekly Alias and Il manifesto.

Co-Head of Development

Pietro Balla, a filmmaker and independent producer with over twenty years of solid production and development experience is the team’s Production Delegate and Co-head of Development. Since 1985 he works as a director and author for the Rai and other satellite channels (e.g. Publimania for Rai 3 , Supergiovani for Rai2, Destinazione serie and Cyclo for Canal Jimmy, Per un pugno di libri for Rai3, Guarda che luna, Omaggio a Fred Buscaglione for Tele+, 1949, Nelle terre di Dio for Cineclassic.) His short films and documentaries have won various prizes in some of the foremost national film festivals (e.g. Costanza, prize-winner at the Festival di Bellaria in 1992; Illibatezza, prize-winner at the Fano Video Film Festival in 1994.) He has written two screenplays for full-length films and has specialized in the production of docufiction (e.g. I campioni di Olimpia (Arte, History Channel) and Casa Pappalardo (Rai 2).

Historian Consultant

The team’s Historian Marcella Filippa has published and taught for several years in collaboration with major universities and European Foundations on feminist themes and Hebraic History (See Curriculum Vitae attached). She has participated in the writing of the Italian journal: International Yearbook of Oral History and Life Stories (Oxford University Press). Filippa has a particular familiarity with audiovisual media given that she teaches a course entitled “Photography in History and Sociology” in the Photography department of the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Torino. Her ability to look at stories “through images” renders her contribution to the team very valuable. The idea for this documentary was born from an encounter between Marcella Filippa and Monica Repetto while Filippa was writing the introduction to Marianne Golz-Goldlust: Il grande giorno (Marianne Golz’s prison letters published in 2003 by Città Aperta Edizioni).

Archives Researche Consultant

Since 1998, the team’s Archives Researche Consultant, Rosalba Ruggeri, works as a research, archive and documentation consultant with the programme FuoriOrario cose (mai) viste aired on the public television network Rai 3. In 2002 she began collaborating with Deriva in the production of documentaries and working on the promotion of Fondazione “Cinema nel Presente” projects (Citto Maselli, Mario Monicelli, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ettore Scola) -- Luna Rossa cinematography. Ruggeri is a graduate of the Scuola Superiore di Comunicazioni Sociali dell’Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano in Modern Literature (Philologic & Literary) with a specialisation in social communication.

Director of Photography

Stefano Pancaldi is a professional with whom Monica Repetto and Pietro Ballo have already worked in perfect harmony for the series “I campioni di Olimpia” (Arte, History Channel). He has a vast experience in international documentary and film production. Pancaldi was the photography director in Cinzia Th Torrini “Iqbal” – the story of a Pakistani child “rented” by his father to a carpet dealer – produced by Raifiction, Red Film Group Arte and Sveriges TV Drama. He was in charge of photography for a full-length feature entitled Little More Than A Year Ago, which marked Marco Filiberti’s debut as a film director. A colourful, hyper realistic and classic melodrama presented with extraordinary success at the Berlin Film Festival (2003) – Panorama section.


Walter Fasano, is a graduate of the DAMS programme in Bologna and of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma. He has worked – editing short films and documentaries – with some of Italy’s best young talent (Asia Argento, Beniamino Catena, Luca Guadagnino, Alessandro Piva, Eros Puglielli). He started editing full-length features with a cult director of the Italian underground, Tonino De Bernardi and has edited the last two films of Dario Argento who is well known in the United States. In addition, he was the editor of Marco Ponti’s film Santa Maradona which was a hit with Italian critics and at the box office. His sensitivity and his knowledge of European and American cinema make him a perfect member for this team. Fasano has already worked with Monica Repetto and Pietro Bella in preceding documentaries and short films, consolidating an intense strong creativity. His presence is anticipated during the development phase for the editing of the promotional presentation of the documentary. He will also work with the director during the writing phase to provide a creative dialogue and single out a rhythm to the narration in addition to a portrayal of the characters actions that mark the découpage with the style desired. Fasano is also an experienced composer (he created the music for the theatre presentations Closer, by Patrick Marber, with Gianmarco Tognazzi and Claudia Gerini under the direction of Luca Guadagnino). His contribution will be fundamental for the selection and development of the music style for the video treatment of documentary.


Gian Maria Testa won the first prize at the Recanati Festival dedicated to new songwriters in 1993 and 1994. His CDs and his concerts are a success in France, Canada, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. His music is made of limpid melodies that emerge from a rich personal universe, where the tango, the bossanova, the habanera and jazz coexist side by side. His fame began in Paris with concerts at the Olympia and his first CDs with the new now independent label Tôt ou Tard. It is in particular his third album, Lampo, animated with a quiet and light swing, essentially, as if suspended from a dimension outside time, just as lunar as it is profoundly linked to the earth – with Glenn Ferris (trombone) in Petite Reine and Lampo, Vincent Segal (cello) in Lucia di notte and Comete, Ricardo Tesi (diatonic accordion) and Rita Marcotulli (piano) – that we wish he inspire himself for the composition of the music for our documentary. Just as with the other members of the team, in the past years, we have had the opportunity to collaborate Gian Maria Testa.

Assistant Director and Development

Emanuela Tomassetti has a extensive experience as assistant director in national TV series (Distretto di Polizia) and in filming for cinema. She’s collaborated with directors such as Marco Bellocchio (L’ora di Religione), Peter Del Monte, and Silvano Agosti that have won numerous prizes. She is a graduate in Contemporary History and is actually completing a Master’s in Multimedia History and Histriography at the University of Rome. Her knowledge of German and of German culture with be particularly useful to the project.

Production manager

Elisa Alvarez Mera, of Columbian origins, has lived in Italy for many years. She was chosen as a member of the team due to her unique experience as a production manager in international productions. Her contribution is particularly important because she combines production know-how to that of filmmaker. It appears to us that a delicate story which deals with strong themes, such as ours, requires particular care on the production division in relation to the requirements of the narrative and artistry.

deriva film srl
productions addresses:
studi cinecittà via tuscolana 1055 roma 00173
via portuense 215 roma 00153
legal address:
via pian due torri 21 roma 00146
phone and fax (0039) +6 55380149

e mail info@derivafilm.it web site www.derivafilm.it