Toni and Rosi Grunschlag were Viennese piano prodigies destined for Europe’s esteem until the Nazi occupation of Austria shattered their world and irrevocably changed their destiny. Left to fend for themselves in a hostile Austria, they were forced to flee their native land and begin new lives far away from all that they loved. Toni and Rosi turned to what they could trust: their music and each other.
Interviewed over a span of ten years, The Grunschlag Sisters share the struggles they faced throughout a German-occupied Austria, Kristallnacht, the dramatic escape to England months later, and their eventual rise to stardom as a piano duo in venues throughout New York and the world. Ultimately, Toni and Rosi share moments from their final concert together. In their eighties, they returned to perform for thousands in Vienna, the city they were forced to flee 67 years earlier.
“Toni and Rosi” documents two lives saved by music and lived through music. Their story has a resonance for today and for all time. Rosi Grunschlag in an address to a group of young Austrians: “It was always the Jew that was blamed, persecuted when there was an epidemic, a bad harvest... But tomorrow it might be the Catholics, the next day the Protestants. If you have a talent, work on it, because when you have to run for your life, you leave everything behind. You just take yourself, if you are lucky. But your education is yours to keep. It is your transportable asset.”
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ReelHeART Filmmakers' Film Festival Athens International Film Festival