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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Calling All Metro Area Alums and Friends of Film!


Join UMass Chancellor Robert C. Holub, Dean Joel W. Martin, and DEFA Film Library Founding Director Barton Byg at Lincoln Center's New York Jewish Film Festival for the screening of Falk Harnack's The Axe of Wandsbek

...a first-ever Festival selection from the DEFA Film Library of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass Amherst


Sunday, January 17, 2010


12:30 p.m.


UMass Alumni & Friends Welcome at Lincoln Center's new David Rubenstein Atrium

Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets, across from the David Koch Theater

Gather before the film to greet Chancellor Holub, meet up with friends, enjoy refreshments, and check out New York's newest cultural hotspot!


1:30 p.m.


Film Screening: The Axe of Wandsbek

The Film Society of Lincoln Center - Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street, upper level, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

Stay after the credits roll for a Q&A with the DEFA Film Library's Founding Director Barton Byg.


The Axe of Wandsbek - an adaptation of one of the most important novels by German Jewish author Arnold Zweig, published in Palestine in 1943 - considers the role that common citizens played in Nazi crimes. Set in Hamburg in 1934, the film tells the story of a man, played by the legendary German actor Erwin Geschonneck (Jacob the Liar, Naked among Wolves), who becomes an executioner for the Nazis and is condemned by his community. Directed by the former resistance fighter Falk Harnack (July 20 - The Plot to Assassinate Hitler), The Axe of Wandsbek became the first film to be banned in East Germany, where officials considered the portrait of the executioner too nuanced. The DEFA Film Library recently released the restored original editor's cut of The Axe of Wandsbek with extensive bonus material on DVD.


Tickets are on sale now; please visit for more information and to purchase tickets (select the date and time of the screening to open the ticket purchase window).


The New York Jewish Film Festival is a preeminent showcase for world cinema that investigates, records, and celebrates the Jewish experience. Founded in 1992, the annual Festival is a collaboration between The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The New York Jewish Film Festival presents a diverse program of narrative features, documentaries, and short films, including world, United States, and New York premieres.


The DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst is the only archive and research center outside Europe devoted to a broad spectrum of filmmaking from or related to East Germany. For more information, visit


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