The Shop on Main Street

The Shop on Main Street

The Shop on Main Street (Czech/Slovak: Obchod na korze; in the UK The Shop on the High Street) is a 1965 Czechoslovakian film about the Aryanization program during World War II in the Slovak State.


During World War II in a small town in the First Slovak Republic (a client state of Nazi Germany), mild-mannered Slovak carpenter Antonín "Tóno" Brtko is chosen by his brother-in-law, who holds an influential position in the local fascist government, to take over the sewing notions (i.e. haberdasher) shop owned by the elderly Jewish widow Rozália Lautmannová as part of the Aryanization efforts in the country. While Brtko is struggling to explain to Lautmannová, who is nearly deaf, oblivious to the outside world, and generally confused, that he is now her supervisor, Imrich Kuchár, Brtko's friend and a Slovak who opposes Aryanization, enters and informs Brtko that the business is unprofitable and Lautmannová relies on donations to make ends meet. Kuchár tells Lautmannová that Brtko has come to help her and connects Brtko with the leadership of the Jewish community of the town, who agree to pay him a regular salary to remain the official Aryan controller of the shop, since, if he quits, he might be replaced by someone more militantly fascist or anti-Semitic.