Love, It Was Not
A film by Maya Sarfaty
Cinema -

The incredible yet true love story between an SS officer and a Jewish prisoner. A story that starts in Auschwitz and ends in a courthouse in Vienna 30 years later.


"Love it was not" is a tragic love story between a prisoner and her captor. Flamboyant and full of life, Helena Citron, is taken to Auschwitz as a young woman, and soon finds unlikely solace under the tutelage of Franz Wunsch, a high-ranking SS officer who falls in love with her and her magnetic singing voice. Risking a certain execution if caught, their forbidden relationship went on until her miraculous liberation.


But when a letter arrives from Wunsch's wife, thirty years later, begging Helena to testify on Wunsch's behalf, she's faced with an impossible decision: will she help the man who brutalized so many lives, but saved hers along with some of the people closest to her?



1. Helena Citron (Zipora Tahori) was among the first 1000 women who were transported to Auschwitz. For two and a half years, she had a romantic relationship with SS officer Franz Wunsch. 


2. Rosa Citron (Shoshanna Orenstein) – Helena’s older sister. She was saved by Helena’s admirer the SS officer Franz Wunsch, but both of her children got murdered.

3. Franz Wunsch – an SS officer in Auschwitz. He was known to be brutal, but regarding Helena’s friends he was supportive. Ultimately he saved Rosa from the gas chambers.



Miky Marin, Helena's niece, was my first acting teacher. While I was still a child, Miky entrusted the story of the two sisters to me, out of the understanding that one day - I would be the voice to tell their story to the world.

Throughout my years as an artist I've striven and experimented with various mediums to properly tell this story, such as prose or feature script. But I was always left embarrassed looking down at my words, feeling they've failed to properly reflect the epic events, and to validate the story as a documented life experience.

Five years ago, when we first made contact with Franz Wunsch´s daughter, I was struck with the understanding that the most exact medium for this story to unfold is a documentary. I realized that my job would be to provide the \stage on which this story's heroes could share their stories, using their own words, describing the events that shaped their lives.


Through the impossible love story between a victim and an executioner the film inquire about morality, ethics, love and guilt. It allows a renewed discussion, honest, brave and complex, with the characters of these two archetype figures--the Nazi offender and the Jewish victim. The prism this story offers us, is a critical uncompromising perspective to Auschwitz routine, not only in the shadows of atrocities, but as an active factory of death, day in day out, for years.


"Love, It Was Not" inevitably raises ethical questions concerning the protagonists of the past, it strives to avoid judgment, but to offer a direct human view of their lives during the terrible period of the deathcamp, and the efforts they needed afterwards to come back into the living.

Director: Maya Sarfaty | Script: Maya Sarfaty | DOP: Ziv Berkovich | Research: Brigitte Halbmayr | Production Manager: Katharina Bernard | Producer: Kurt Langbein, Nir Sa'ar

Documentary Feature | Austria-Israel | 2018
95 minutes | HD
A coproduction of Langbein & Partner with Pagoda Productions, Israel.
Supported by the Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Fund and ORF (Film/Television-Agreement)