Ernst Thälmann: Son of the Working Class

(Ernst Thälmann – Sohn seiner Klasse)

GDR, 1954, 139 min, color
In German; no subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Special Effects
Themes & Genres:


This film is the first of a two-part historical and biographical portrait of the communist politician and anti-fascist Ernst Thälmann.


In early November 1918, Ernst Thälmann (played by Günther Simon) is an unwilling soldier serving on the western front. As the revolutionary movement at home is threatened by the betrayal of the Social Democrats and fissures in the working class, Thälmann calls on his fellow soldiers to put down their weapons and unite with the workers in the communist struggle at home.


Thälmann’s qualms about which side he is fighting on continue, but when the local police attempt to prevent a shipment of provisions and supplies from reaching the people in Petrograd, he intervenes and the ship is unloaded. With this moment of clarity, Thälmann continues to follow his political convictionas and joins the workers at the Hamburg uprising in October 1923.


1954 Peace Prize, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
1954 National Prize, Class 1 for Directing (Kurt Maetzig)
1954 National Prize, Class 1 for Cinematography (Karl Plintzner)
1954 National Prize, Class 1 for Script (Willi Bredel, Michael Tschesno-Hell)
1954 National Prize, Class 1 for Acting (Günther Simon)


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