GDR, 1957, 89 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Special Effects


Berlin, early 1930s. Lissy (Sonja Sutter), a young woman raised in a socialist working-class family, marries a clerk who promises her a better life. During the depression, however, he gets fired and can’t find a new job. Desperate for companionship and money, he falls for Nazi propaganda and joins the Storm Troopers. Lissy's brother, who for a time sympathized with the communists, now also wears the SA uniform. When he is killed by the Nazis—because of hisoppositional ideas—Lissy starts questioning things and makes a difficult and potentially dangerous decision.    


This East German classic, created by a young Konrad Wolf (Stars, I Was Nineteen, Professor Mamlock), son of the playwright Friedrich Wolf, prefigures the years of Nazi tyranny. The gripping story is based on the novel Die Versuchung, by Jewish author F.C. Weiskopf, who was able to flee the Nazis in Czechoslovakia and immigrate to the USA with the help of the League of American Writers in 1939.



1959 Melbourne International Film Festival
1957 Third Prize, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
1957 Bronze Medal, Film Festival of the Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students

Press comments

”The rise of the Nazis seen through the eyes of a young woman.”  —British Film Institute


“A little gem!”  —


“Superb cinematography by Werner Bergmann.” —The National Center for Jewish Film


Lissy is a precise and cinematically detailed analysis of the lower middle class and its behavior in the face of fascism.”           –Deutsches Filminstitut


“The film examines the early growth of Nazism via a poor family during 1932-3[3]. Ideological aspects do not swamp a growing drama of awareness and the people remain real to give this a jolting effect! […] Sonja Sutter gives depth to the girl character while the rest of the cast helps make this a telling pic of troubled times. Direction is solid and technical wrap-up is fine.” —Variety


“The film grants the title heroine a degree of psychological depth that is atypical for a film of the 1950s. […] Wolf’s film examines how mass unemployment and the recession during the Weimar Republic made the Germans susceptible to Nazi propaganda.” —Daniela Berghahn, Screening War: Perspectives on German Suffering


“A suggestively photographed, and excellently edited and performed film.” —Lexikon des Internationalen Films


“This film brilliantly and accurately impresses us with its subtle depiction of characters, with an eye to both the typical and the contradictory.”         —Ulrich Gregor, Konrad Wolf: Film in der DDR, 1977


“This film—masterfully created by a young Konrad Wolf, son of the playwright Friedrich Wolf—captures the dynamics of 1932-33. It prefigures the years of Nazi tyranny. A clear, uncompromising film of high rank.” —Hamburger Echo, 1958





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