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The Gleiwitz Case

OT: Der Fall Gleiwitz

Gerhard Klein // 1961
Fiction Feature // FF2014
Film Website



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

Fiction Feature


DDR Deluxe//FF2014


67 min

OV with English subtitles

Gerhard Klein

Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Günther Rücker

Hannjo Hasse, Herwart Grosse, Hilmar Thate, Georg Leopold, Wolfgang Kalweit, Rolf Ripperger, Christoph Beyertt

Jan Čuřík

Evelyn Carow

Kurt Schwaen

Gerhard Helwig

Deutsche Kinemathek

Deutsche Kinemathek, DEFA Film Library (USA)

DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme

Deutsche Kinemathek: defa-filmverleih@deutsche-kinemathek.de, DEFA Stiftung: presse@defa-stiftung.de

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