Yesterday, I watched The Quality of Mercy (OT: Hasenjagd), by Andreas Gruber, 1994. We saw the film for the first time in 1994 at school, shortly after its release.
The Quality of Mercy is one of those films that remained in my mind. It narrates the string of events during World War 2 that happened in the neighborhood I grew up in. I don’t want to bore you with the details of the film (in case you are interested, here is a link to the film’s Wikipedia article in English )
We had of course also seen Schindler’s List the film that came out in 1993. It is commendable what Mr. Schindler did. Yes, Mr. Schindler is a hero, because he saved so many lives and yes, he was a big man.
The Quality of Mercy does not have a hero who saves the lives of hundreds, or for that matter even five. The film draws attention to those who are not in positions of power, but still spark with resistance at the risk of their own lives.
In one scene a woman keeps boiled potatoes outside her front door, just in case someone passes by who is hungry. Others offer the fugitives their own clothes in the abject icy-cold winter. During that time, each one of those seemingly small gestures used to be high-stake-risk-taking behavior.
When we think of our own lives, how many times have we seen injustice and told ourselves: but that is none of my business? Or said in resignation: What can I do?
Yes, moral courage is something we all should have, but after all, how many of us bother?