On 31st August 1939, a group of SS men disguised as Polish partisans stormed the Gleiwitz relay station and read out a declaration of war on Germany. Leader of the provocative act, which supplied Hitler with the justification needed to invade Poland, was SS Hauptsturmführer Alfred Helmut Naujocks. He also gave the order to shoot a concentration camp prisoner on the spot and leave his body, dressed in a Polish army uniform, behind as apparent proof. The docudrama reconstructs the events in minute detail and stark, stylized monochrome pictures. Criticised by GDR functionaries on its release as “formalistic”, today the film is seen one of the most important works of anti-fascist art.
Gerhard Klein (1920-1970) achieved international fame with Der Fall Gleiwitz. Together with author Wolfgang Kohlhaase, he made a series of Berlin films, including Berlin – Ecke Schönhauser (1957), one of the most important DEFA films of the 1950s.
Der Fall Gleiwitz
OV with English subtitles
Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Günther Rücker
Hannjo Hasse, Herwart Grosse, Hilmar Thate, Georg Leopold, Wolfgang Kalweit, Rolf Ripperger, Christoph Beyertt
Deutsche Kinemathek, DEFA Film Library (USA)
DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme
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