This Nazi propaganda film attempts to justify the invasion of Poland--and thus the start of World War II--by "showing" how the ethnic Germans in Poland were were discriminated against and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Petersen ...
Dr. Thomas
Ludwig Launhardt
Ruth Hellberg ...
Martha Launhardt
Carl Raddatz ...
Dr. Fritz Mutius
Old Manz
Elsa Wagner ...
Frau Schmid
Eduard Köck ...
Herr Schmid
Franz Pfaudler ...
Balthasar Manz
Gerhild Weber ...
Josepha Manz
Oskar Friml
Hermann Erhardt ...
Karl Michalek
Berta Drews ...
Eugen Preiß ...


This Nazi propaganda film attempts to justify the invasion of Poland--and thus the start of World War II--by "showing" how the ethnic Germans in Poland were were discriminated against and oppressed by the Poles, and how they were rescued from extinction only by the intervention of the German army. Written by

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nazi | nazi propaganda | See All (2) »




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Release Date:

31 August 1941 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Az ösi rög  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Edited into Deutschland, erwache! (1968) See more »

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Mainly of historical interest
29 July 2009 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

Shot in Nazi Germany in 1941, HEIMKEHR shows the suppression of ethnic Germans in a little town in Eastern Poland (now Ukraine) during spring and summer of 1939. While Polish military prepares for war, German schools are closed and plundered. Minority rights are cut down or disrespected. Open hostility and violence against German people increases, while the official authorities watch on. After the outbreak of the war, the Germans are interned into a prison. Only the progress of the Wehrmacht safes them in the last minute. The final scenes show them being re-located and transferred "back to the Reich".

For today's audiences this film shows a world surrealistically turned upside down, as it is a Nazi produced film that accuses ethnic persecution and a chauvinistic state treating his unwelcome citizens with ruthless disposal and disrespect of laws. Many scenes and lines said by the actors appear familiar from countless Anti-Nazi-movies.

The propagandistic means employed by director Gustav Ucicky are mostly very primitive, as the villainous Poles look ugly and mean with no redeeming qualities at all. Even a few nasty Jewish stereotypes are thrown in.Other scenes, such as the imprisonment of the Germans in a crowded dark cell, have an intense, nightmarish quality, and ironically strongly recall Holocaust iconography for today's viewers. The final speeches, held by the otherwise great Austrian actress Paula Wessely, are a torture to watch: pathetic, pompous, silly and empty propaganda at its worst, as lifeless as a cardboard.

It should however be pointed out that the pogrom-like assaults (including murder and manslaughter), the increasing ethnic hostilities and the aggressive nationalist policy of the Polish state, which was also directed against other minorities (or in this particular then-part of Poland rather majorities) such as Ukranians, Jews and Belorussians, is based on well-documented facts, which are given little attention or downplayed by many historians today for mostly political reasons. As the war came closer, the hostilities on both sides increased. There are many scenes, such as an incident at a movie theater when the Germans are forced by an angry crowd to sing the Polish national anthem which may actually be fairly realistic portrayals of the atmosphere in certain parts of the country and the loyalty conflicts endured.

Other now rather forgotten facts of the prelude to the war are shown as well, such as the mobilization of the Polish army as early as March 1939. A Polish propaganda poster which can be seen in one scene, that calls for a Greater Poland reaching as far as Berlin and further is authentic as well. After the outbreak of the war several Thousands of German civilians were interned and massacred throughout Poland. That the Nazis in consequence could do far worse than that is a testament to the cynical hypocrisy and double-speech of totalitarian regimes.

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