GDR, n/a, 204 min, color/b&w
In German; English subtitles


Presented here are nine short films that feature: film director Slatan Dudow; actor Martin Brandt; authors Erich Fried, Erich Weinert, and Arnold Zweig; photographer Walter Ballhause; cartoonist Leo Haas; and journalist Egon Erwin Kisch. Original interviews with the artists, close family members, and friends are combined with little-known historic film material.


This collection includes the following titles, all produced in the GDR:

  • Arnold Zweig (Joop Huisken, 1962)
  • Erich Fried: The Whole World Should Endure (Roland Steiner, 1988)
  • Even Today He'd Speak His Mind (Volker Koepp, 1975)
  • Leo Haas: Artist and Witness of His Times (Jörg d'Bomba, 1971)
  • Malik (Giovanni Angella, 1967)
  • Do You Know Where Herr Kisch Is? (Eduard Schreiber, 1985)
  • Slatan Dudow: A Film Essay about a Marxist Artist (Volker Koepp, 1974)
  • Traces (Eduard Schreiber, 1989)
  • Walter Ballhause: One Among Millions (Karlheinz Mund, 1982)


“East German documentaries often portrayed leftist and liberal artists who were forced into exile by the Nazis. This topic corresponded to the GDR’s official antifascist film policies. The production of these films also depended on current propaganda demands: the life of émigrés was shown through the lens of contemporary official politics at the time. This explains reductions, omissions, or condensations in the artists’ portraits. The films offer, beyond their actual topic, a fascinating temporal journey into East German history.”
—Ralf Schenk, Chairman, DEFA Foundation, Berlin


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies and Filmographies
  • “Exile: Nine Variations on a Theme,” by Seán Allan, Univ. of Warwick
  • “Painting with a Lens: Artists’ Film Portraits,” written 2015 interview with director Eduard Schreiber
  • “Erich Fried: Father or Brother?,” by director Roland Steiner (2015)

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