‘Blood & Gold’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Who Gets The Gold: Sonja, Dorfler, Or Heinrich?

It is easy to get drawn towards World War II stories because there are so many, and one must learn from the history and encourage ourselves to not repeat the mistakes made in the past. World War II is a testament to what happened and what should not have happened. Blood & Gold is one such fictional story set during this horrendous time where instead of realizing the consequences of the war, people were just oblivious to it, and they were desperate to seek a stack of gold bars. It will be interesting to watch who gets their hands on this treasure and how.

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Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Blood & Gold’ Film?

Blood & Gold begins with Private Heinrich being chased by a company of German soldiers. The man is finally caught, and it is revealed that Heinrich is being sentenced to death for deserting the army. Heinrich states that he has been lied to for the past six years about why there needs to be a war. Henrich regrets joining the army and indulging in activities he now knows were wrong and against basic human rights. It is implied that Heinrich might have seen horrors inflicted on Jewish men and women, people who opposed the German government, and many others that did not suit the government’s narrative of being model citizens; all of them were ostracized and probably exterminated. Heinrich did not want any more blood on his hands, which is why he was ready to accept death.

The man was hanged by the neck and left to rot by his men. He is rescued by Elsa, a local farmgirl who herself is a war widow. She runs the household with her brother Paule, and they are happy to help Heinrich recuperate. Henrich reveals he is headed to Hagen to seek his daughter, who was the only person from his family that did not die in the bombing. Elsa reveals her father was arrested for speaking up against Hitler and his policies, and she has not seen him ever since. Heinrich and Elsa form a bond based on the hatred they have for the Nazi party and the army.

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The company led by Lt. Colonel von Starnfeld reaches the small town of Sonnenberg and is quick to make themselves at home there. The man is here because he heard of the gold left behind by the Lowensteins, the only Jewish family in town, before their home was burned down. The colonel requested that Mayor Robert Schlick gather enough manpower to get the gold. Robert and his accomplices, who include a local woman named Sonja, had already stolen the gold, and they are not keen on being parted from this stack of treasure. With the defeat of Germany looming over the country, Robert, Sonja, and the accomplices would like to have a little fortune tucked away for a gloomy future. Lt. Colonel von Starnfeld’s motives are not quite clear, but it can be assumed he wants the money for the Reich. The man is a staunch nationalist, and he would do anything for his so-called “fatherland”. Their power allows them to act superior to the townspeople, and by the looks of it, the Lt. Col. knows Robert has the money.

Dorfler, another soldier with Lt. Col. von Starnfeld, is brainwashed into being a nationalist as well, and he is now asked to arrange for food for the soldiers because their stock of meat and other provisions is slowly running out. The war is ending, everyone knows, and Germany is on the verge of facing a defeat. We may assume the reason the army did not have enough food to eat was because there was not enough money to support the army. Lt. Colonel von Starnfeld orders Dorfler to arrange for food from anywhere he can find.

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Who Finally Gets Possession Of The Gold Bars? Sonja, Dorfler, Or Heinrich?

Dorfler happens to stop by Elsa’s small farmhouse, where he spots cows and chickens that could be secured for the food they require. Elsa and her brother Paule show resistance while hiding Heinrich in their home. A scuffle erupts, which leads to Elsa almost getting sexually assaulted by Dorfler. Heinrich rescues the siblings and kills all the soldiers who were with Dorfler. Dorfler retreats, but they know he will come back with more men to ravage them. All three of them leave their house to head to Hagen to find Heinrich’s daughter. Elsa and Heinrich made the right decision to leave because they knew if Dorfler brought in more men, there was no chance they would survive the onslaught. It would be better to move away and follow the goal they have in mind.

Paule tries to save his cow by heading back home, and because of this innocent mistake, Paule is arrested by Dorfler, and his cow is killed. Elsa and Heinrich are witnesses to this and follow Dorfler’s entourage to Sonnenberg, where Elsa has connections that she plans to use to save her brother. On reaching Sonnenberg, things get out of hand very quickly. Lt. Col. von Starnfeld’s search for the gold bars is in progress. Dorfler, on the other hand, humiliates Paule and tries to hang him from the church spire. Paule, being Elsa’s brother, managed to get hold of some guns and kill some soldiers. The boy is smart and brave, and he knows what he must do to save himself. Unfortunately, he met his death at the hands of Lt. Col. von Starnfeld’s bullets, and Elsa is beyond any retribution because of Paule’s death. With him gone, she has no family and nothing to lose. She tries to kill Lt. Col. von Starnfeld, but instead she is captured by his men and is forced to live with him.

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Private Heinrich and Dorfler continue their fight, but it is stalled by the American air raids. The American air raids should come across as a warning for them because the country is in turmoil and there is infighting amongst the Germans. The army is in denial about the major loss and is under the delusion that Hitler will save them.

Heinrich is gravely injured, and he is rescued by the priest and his partner. They reveal the tragic stories of the Lowenstein family. This rich and humble family was forced to leave their town because of the mayor’s antisemitic speeches and rants in 1938. The businessman Lowenstein’s son sold the business and converted all his money into gold bars in the hope of using it to move to Palestine. But his father was not willing to leave Germany because he was a true-blue German, and moving to another country did not make sense to the Lowenstein patriarch. The gold bars were found accidentally by Sonja and Mayor Robert, and unbeknownst to the mob outside the Lowenstein home, they were quickly stashed away.

Mayor Robert is on the verge of giving up the gold because Lt. Col. von Starnfeld starts behaving like a bully. Sonja and the other accomplices are not keen on parting with the treasure. In that process, they kill Robert and head to the graveyard where the gold was hidden. They do not find the gold there, but the clue left by the thief takes them to the local priest. The priest took the gold away because he and his partner had been ridden by guilt because they could do nothing to save the Lowenstein family. Meanwhile, Sonja would do anything to get her hands on the gold because she has plans to execute and goals to achieve.

Elsa, who is kept captive by Lt. Col. von Starnfeld, runs away from the inn by forcing him to eat the cyanide he had on himself. Meanwhile, Heinrich is told about the actual location of the gold, which is the altar stone inside the church. He tries to rescue Elsa by offering the captors one gold bar in exchange, but ends up getting captured by Dorfler and his men. Sonja gets hold of the priest, and he is forced to take her to the church to collect the gold bars. As both teams are about to reach the church, an impending showdown is imminent. The hunger and greed to get hold of the money, even though it never belonged to any one of them, prove that the Nazi supporters are hypocrites. Elsa and the priest’s partner arrive at the church to rescue the priest and Heinrich.

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The priest had placed explosives inside the altar stone so that anyone trying to get hold of it would die. A brutal gunfight ensues that kills the priest, his partner, Sonja’s other accomplices, and many of Dorfler’s men. He somehow survives long enough to be killed with a gold bar by Heinrich. It was only poetic to see this man get killed by an object that was never his. The Germans were so quick to make Jewish treasurers their own, but they did not want any Jews around. This pushed Heinrich to kill him so that he would die, remembering that the gold bar managed to kill him as well.

Heinrich and Elsa leave the town because they never had any intention of taking the gold away from anyone. They did not need the gold because it would be a sin to live off the money that belonged to someone else. They assumed everybody in the church died, and no one would be alive to take control of the gold bars spread across this place of worship.

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Sonja remained unconscious or pretended to remain unconscious so that she would be the last person standing. She kills one last soldier she spots in the church because the woman is adamant about getting her hands on the gold. With her accomplices dead, she would be happy to not have to share the treasure. The woman wanted to leave the town and start over. This gold in her possession will give her the freedom to do anything she wants.

A few months or weeks later, the radio announces the death of Hitler, and with that, the German army has surrendered and the war in Europe is officially over. Sonja is driving one of the army vehicles when her car is hit by a bomb. The woman seemed happy and content to have heard the news because she can now maybe use this gold to get her way out of Germany. Unfortunately, her car was bombed by an American tank, which is in Germany carrying out rescue operations. They bombed the army vehicle without knowing who was in it, and with the car in smithereens, the American army officers found the gold bars scattered around the wreckage. Sonja dies due to the impact of the explosion, which is proof that the gold bars could do nothing for her. She died, and the greed she had in her to get away with the gold could not stop her from being killed by an American bomb.

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Meanwhile, the Americans are initially skeptical of what to do with these gold bars. The officer in charge decides not to turn them in, so this treasure could be distributed evenly. This again proves that people on both sides of the war are the same. They prey on someone else’s treasures. The Americans also did not know who the gold belonged to, but they kept it for themselves and moved on. Just like Sonja and Lt. Col. von Starnfeld wanted to steal and get away with these valuables, the Americans wanted to do the same because that is human nature. There is no good or bad here. People are inherently selfish, and they would do anything to fulfill their selfish needs. Americans were no different than the Germans, and possessing gold proves they are thieves as much as the Germans were.

Blood & Gold ends with Henrich and Elsa finally reaching Hagen, and he reunites with his daughter Lotte. His quest to look for his only daughter began after the rest of his family were killed. This propelled his decision to desert the army, find his daughter, and probably move away to another country. His fate had other plans, but it did not separate him from his daughter. He found her, and he could not control his tears at the sight of her. The last shot has Heinrich sobbing as he gets to hug his daughter. The focus on his eyes and tears again showcases the relief he is experiencing at having found his daughter. Henrich may have lost hope, but being able to see his daughter in flesh and blood brings out all his emotions, and all is right for him and Lotte from here on.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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