This movie feels very much like a direct message to the German people. Our two main characters Dr. Hans Mertens and Susanna Wallner fell like they represent two different sides or kinds of German people after the war. All though Susanna was in a concentration camp she like many other Germans who fled the country during the war time return to help with the reconstruction and hope to go back to the way things used to be before the war, a sentiment I assume most people returning home after the war also felt. She wishes to help Hans and the people he represents and directly talks about how they need to move forward and not be tied totally to their past.
Hans however represents the Germans who either stayed or were drafted into the war. He saw horrific tragedy and destruction firsthand and it destroyed him. Its clear he has lost all his hope in humanity and even though he is a doctor fells that he cant help anyone anymore no matter his intentions because he is so broken from the war. He feels like a direct commentary and message to the Germans who like Hans are scared from the war and feels like there is no longer a point to even try and rebuild. However, we see this perspective change as the movie goes on and Hans goes from being a drunk back to becoming a respectable doctor who can help people once again. This feels like the movie is addressing the audience directly and telling them that they too don’t need to drown in the sorrows and mistakes of their past but can and should keep moving forward.