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Film still from DAS BEIL VON WANDSBEK: A butcher looks scrutinizingly at the axe in his hand.
© DEFA-Stiftung, Erich Kilian

Mon 27.05.

  • Director

    Falk Harnack

  • GDR / 1951
    110 min. / DCP / Original version

  • Original language


  • With book presentation „Falk Harnack. Gewissen – Verantwortung – Gerechtigkeit“ by Rolf Aurich and Nicky Rittmeyer

  • Cinema

    Arsenal 1

    zu den Ticketszu dem Kalender
  • Introduction: Rolf Aurich (Deutsche Kinemathek), Nicky Rittmeyer (Akademie der Künste)

Master butcher Teetjen declares himself willing to execute condemned communists – it’s only after this “service to the fatherland” that Adolf Hitler will visit Hamburg. Teetjen could really use the 2000 Mark payment in order to modernize his shop. In his first directorial work DAS BEIL VON WANDSBEK, Falk Harnack (1913–1991) transposes the plot of Arnold Zweig’s novel from  1937/38 to 1934 and taps into the realm of experience of the early phase of the National Socialist era. He stopped at nothing to realize the project, as he was close to resistance groups like the “Weiße Rose” and the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack network. A few weeks after the premiere, the film was removed from general release. The SED regarded it as a mistake “not to have made the fighters of the German working class into the main hero”, but rather “their execution”. Yet the passages which the film dedicated to the workers’ resistance are impossible to overlook. (Ralf Aurich)

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media