Children's Home


GDR, 1978/1990, 26 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles


A film about children and teenagers living in an East German children’s home in Mentin, Mecklenburg in the late 1970s. They talk openly about their past experiences, how they affected their lives and why they ended up in the home, describing unstable home situations, domestic violence and their parents’ alcohol abuse. But these young people also share their hopes for the future.


This documentary was produced as an opening film for Roland Gräf's feature film P.S. (1978), about an 18-year-old who spends his like on a children's home. The documentary was banned by officials, however, who accused it of painting a picture of a country with many social and family problems. It was never shown before the Wall came down in the 1989.



2019 Self-Determined: Perspectives of Women Filmmakers retrospective, Berlin International Film Festival
2018 Filmkunstfest MV, Schwerin, Germany


Press comments

"The traditional manor house in Mentin, near Parchim, was used as a children's home from 1945 to 1996. In East Germany, children from broken families in difficult circumstances were sent to live and be cared for here. Although Mentin was a regular children's home—not a re-education of disciplinary center for problem youth—formerly institutionalized children reported bad experiences. The film Children's Home (1978), banned in the GDR, is a rare document of the times and gives a contradictory image of the Mentin children's home. From 1949 to 1990, approximately half a million children and teenagers lived in homes run by the GDR's youth social services; of these, 135,000 were admitted to "special" children's homes or juvenile detention centers." —



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