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In 1994, Erica Fischer published Aimée and Jaguar,a book about two women in love in 1943 Berlin. One was a Jewish lesbian, the other a married Christian mother of three. Despite being apparent opposites, Felice Schragenheim and Lilly Wust fell in love and stayed together despite the obvious dangers of such a relationship. Using the non-Jewish last name Schrader, Felice worked at a Nazi newspaper; Lilly divorced her husband while he was fighting at the front. The two lived togther for several months, until August 1944 when they returned from swimming to find the Gestapo waiting to take Felice away.

Fischer's story, of course, is true. Lilly waited for Felice to return, until after the war when it became apparent that she was not coming home. Felice had, in fact, died in a concentration camp. One year after a 1949 suicide attempt, Lilly married again but divorced the following year. In 1981 she received the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany, in part for having also sheltered three elderly Jewish women - also lesbians - during the last year of the war. Elizabeth Wust still lives in Berlin, and keeps two suitcases with all of her records of Felice. They mostly consist of letters between Aimée (Felice's name for Lilly) and Jaguar (what Lilly called Felice in return), and upon Lilly's death both cases will go to Lilly's son Eberhard, who converted to Judaism and lives in Israel today.

The book was made into a movie in 1999, with Juliane Köhler playing the part of Lilly and Maria Schrader as Felice. In German with English subtitles and directed by Max Färberböck, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe award and was Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2000.

Even in the U.S., the movie was sometimes referred to as "Aimée et Jaguar" or "Aimée und Jaguar" but the English conjunction was more frequently used.

Added to the above node, the film set in Germany during Hitler's reign, won the Silver Bear award in the Berlin Film Festival for Best Actress by Maria Schrader and Juliane Köhler. They tied for the award.

In my opinion the film is a poignant love story that is beautifully filmed. Despite the budget looking bombing scenes of Berlin, that were in fact, not the real focus of the story, everything else was perfect. The choice of music fit perfectly in with the mood of the film.

I can't say how many times I've watched the movie, but every time I watch it, it affects me the exact same way. I haven't yet become desensitized to it. Maybe the cause of this is the realism of the movie, and the great believable performances by the leading actresses. I could only imagine the difficulty of playing characters based on real people, that happens in other movies. But Maria Schrader must've been challenged in her role as Felice Schragenheim because the character that she plays is dead. The only information that she has of her, are the letters that she wrote to Lilly Wust, and the recollections of the woman through her surviving friends and of course Lilly.

So how does a director go by making a film based also on these facts? Sure he based it on Erica Fischer's book, but how did he know how to make those scenes where Felice is alone by herself? How do you imagine those?

The beauty of the film is that it carries out its message of love, and how this love was so intense that Felice would give up the chance of fleeing Germany to remain with Lilly. Max Fäberböck could not do any better than choosing Maria Schrader and Juliane Köhler as his leading ladies since all emotions, all thoughts, could be seen with the littlest of movements on the screen.

The constant fear that the Gestapo will come along and find them. The hunger for life and love. And even amidst these dark and sad themes there are moments of humour and happiness.

The movie brought the true story to life, it is also one of the first films that focussed on the homosexual lives of women in Germany during WWII. Thus revealing to us, that there is more than just the stories that we hear all the time, this opens to us a whole new inner world. That during the war there was still this going on, that the tragedies during that period of history, that they're stories are still not completely open to us. That some are lost forever.

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