Kaddisch für einen Freund
by Leo Khasin
Russian Jew and WWII veteran Alexander Rabinowitsch, now 84, does not want to go into a retirement home. He fights against the strains of his age, holed up with all his memories in his flat in Kreuzberg, observing the district’s decline with relaxed cynicism. His Palestinian neighbour, 14-year-old Ali Messalem, has quite different problems: he longs for nothing more than to be accepted by his fellow Arab youths. In a test of courage, he breaks into the home of the Jewish arch enemy, which he then wrecks with abandon. Criminal charges arise and Ali faces a guilty judgment and expulsion. Alexander is prepared to withdraw charges under one condition: Ali will help him to renovate the place entirely so the social services will decide that he, Alexander, is capable of taking care of himself.