Council of the Gods

(Der Rat der Götter)

GDR, 1950, 111 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Special Effects


The chemist Dr. Hans Scholz lives through a tortuous political transformation and maturation process. Eventually, he adopts political neutrality and closes his eyes to the fact that the poison being produced in his factory is being used in the extermination camps. Standing before the judges at the Nuremberg trials, he must face the fact that he is implicated in the deaths of millions in the gas chambers of the concentration camps.

The film is based on the records of the Nuremberg trial of the chemical giant IG Farben and on the 1947 book I.G. Farben by American author Richard Sasuly. It tells a powerful story about the collaboration between international corporations and Nazi scientists, whose research contributed to the death of millions.


The musical score by Hanns Eisler includes electronic sound by Oskar Sala, which is notable for its heavy use of the trautorium, an electronic instrumet that would later be featured in Hitchcock's The Birds. This usage of the tratorium is unusual in comparison to that of other composers because it is here used melodically, rather than for unpitched sound effect. 

Press comments

"This East German feature is a fascinating blend of post-World War II regret and emerging Cold War propaganda."


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