6. Wansee Lake
Photo: Anika Molnar/Netflix
On that first meeting, Esty gets invited by the conservatory students on a road trip to Wansee Lake. The history of Wansee and the lively recreation taking place there forms quite the historical juxtaposition for Esty. She learns that the Wansee villa was the site of a conference of high-ranking Nazi officials in 1942 where SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich was tasked by Hermann Göring to create a plan for a “total solution to the Jewish question.” The end results of these plans led to the deportation, concentration, and murder of the Jews of Europe. Robert adds that when the Berlin Wall was still up, “East German guards shot anyone who tried to swim across this lake to freedom.”
It is also fitting that it is here that Esty decides to take the next step in breaking free from her religious roots. She gingerly undresses to swim in the lake (still with most of her clothing on) and lets her wig float away into the lake.
7. Westin Grand Berlin
Moishe and Yanky continue on their quest to find Esty, staying at the Grand Westin Berlin hotel. The whole scenario of putting Yanky into the real world actually provides some comic relief in an otherwise serious and dramatic story. We see him confused and bewildered about smartphones (Hasidic Jews can only use non-smartphone Kosher phones that do not have internet) — “Ask if it knows where my wife is,” he demands of Moishe, then grabs the phone and asks, “Where is Esty, telephone?”
The interior balconied atrium of the Westin Grand Berlin forms an architecturally beautiful scene as Moishe and Yanky head to their room. Yanky quickly covers the photograph of a woman whose upper back is revealed (it would be considered immodest in their religion).