Brothers and Sisters

(Brüder und Schwestern)

GDR, 1963, 40 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)


A few days after the GDR built the Berlin Wall, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer commented that this was “an infamous and brutal act against our brothers and sisters in the Zone.” Director Walter Heynowski digs into this ubiquitous West German expression, using footage from West German newsreels and TV programs, and compares the life of “brothers and sisters” in East and West Germany. In this propagandistic documentary, the director juxtaposes images of class hierarchy and conflict in the West, with images of a flourishing East German state.


2010  Int. Festival WATCH DOCS, Warsaw, Poland
1963 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, GDR


Press comments

“This film aimed to represent the Federal Republic as a country of social contradictions, where increasing poverty and excessively high rents contributed to the exploitation of workers. By contrast, it represents the GDR as a ‘progressive’ state, one where all power came from the people and the working population independently owned all means of production.”   —Andreas Kötzing, “The Film Festivals of Oberhausen und Leipzig.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War



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