Naked Among Wolves

(Nackt unter Wölfen)

GDR, 1963, 124 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Jankowski, a Polish prisoner from Auschwitz, arrives at the Buchenwald concentration camp carrying a suitcase. Inside the suitcase is a small Jewish boy he has kept from harm. Once at Buchenwald, prisoners working in the property storage room discover the child. Although the sight of the innocent child moves many, his presence in the camp endangers the work of the camp's communist underground, who have organized a resistance group. As liberation of the camp approaches, the prisoners must come together to keep the boy safe from their Nazi captors.


Adapted from the novel by Bruno Apitz and filmed on location at Buchenwald concentration camp, this film features many who were themselves prisoners of the Nazis, as well as younger actor Armin Mueller-Stahl. 


Based on a true story of inmates who risked their lives to hide a small Jewish boy shortly before the liberation of the camp.


2021 Teicholz Holocaust Remembrance Film Series, Holocaust Museum Los Angeles, USA
1965 Certificate of Recognition, Cineparade Melbourne
1963 Silver Prize for Best Director (Frank Beyer), Moscow Film Festival

Press comments

"It is a powerful narrative of the last weeks of Buchenwald…A moving experience."


"The film, shot in stark black and white tones, is understated and surrealistic in its portrayal of telling details that it sometimes resembles a documentary."
The Canadian Jewish News, 2002


"Although there has been an abundance of films from the Eastern European bloc on the subject of concentration camps, there are few to match this East German production for sincerity and production quality. It is a powerful narrative of the last weeks of Buchenwald."
Variety, 1964


"A stunning performance by the young Armin Mueller-Stahl."
— Leeds International Film Festival


"One of the most powerful and accomplished anti-fascist films produced in East Germany."
— Vancouver Pacific Cinematheque


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DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • About the Film
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Historical Context: Newsreels
  • Essays
  • DVD Preview: Verdict on Auschwitz
  • About the DEFA Film Library
  • Photo Gallery
  • Original Trailer

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