A story about the rise of Nazism based on a novel by a German-Jewish author who managed to survive by fleeing to the USA. The movie focuses on working class Berliner Lissy Schroeder who ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Liesbeth 'Lissy' Frohmeyer
Horst Drinda ...
Alfred Frohmeyer
Hans-Peter Minetti ...
Paul Schröder
Raimund Schelcher ...
Max Franke
Christa Gottschalk ...
Toni Franke
Gerhard Bienert ...
Vater Schröder
Else Wolz ...
Mutter Schröder
Annemarie Hase ...
Frau Kaluweit
Otto Stübler ...
Direktor Hoppe
Willi Schwabe ...
Kassierer Gold
Christine von Trümbach ...
Hausmeisterin Engelmann
Gerd Michael Henneberg ...
Horst Friedrich ...
Georg Feicht ...
Dr. Danzinger


A story about the rise of Nazism based on a novel by a German-Jewish author who managed to survive by fleeing to the USA. The movie focuses on working class Berliner Lissy Schroeder who marries clerk Alfred Frohmeyer believing he can provide her with a better life. In 1932, however, his Jewish boss fires him. So Alfred turns to the Nazis, quickly rising in the SA, and acquiring wealth along the way. Lissy, however, discovers there is, as always, a price. The Nazis shoot her brother, a former Communist. And her parents and friends shun her. What is she to do? Written by Kittyman@peoplepc.com

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30 May 1957 (East Germany)  »

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21 September 1999 | by (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This East German classic from the 50's concerning a young woman from the working classes and her struggle with upcoming Nazism is as to the political content very ambivalent. Though Maetzig refrains from a too obvious political message, at the same time the portrayal of how Nazi-political thinking is infiltrating Lissy and her family is very schematic and thereby oversimplified. Moreover, maybe also due to Sonja Sutter's superb performance, the part of Lissy is about the only character with a psychological depth, while all other parts never become more than archetypes of the different classes.

No more than outside events lead Lissy's husband to his choosing for the NSDAP (including his anti-Semitic feelings). His dismissal by his jewish boss in combination with a "Juden Raus" poster of the NSDAP and his middle-class background is according to this film enough to explain his anti-semitism; that already a more irrational base must have been present for anti-semitic feelings as such, probably did not fit into the materialistic and dialectic view on the world. Also the premise that the working classes were basically anti-Nazi is naive to say the least.

As to the end I think it should be said that this is not that "open" as it is always referred as. The last shot of the film in combination with the interior monologue hardly leaves room for any interpretation but one.

That this film is considered a classic film is mainly due to the fact that Maetzig, as said, refrains from too obvious political propaganda, which was a relief from other East German anti-Nazifilms; with its political message Maetzig wants to accentuate human dignity. Maetzig also simply made a very good film with its rich in details and atmosphere portrayal of the working classes in Berlin around 1932/33 and the busy city life in the streets. It is fast-paced; one of those films that really start with the first shot and does not need time to get going. Maetzig was supported by superb cinematography by Werner Bergmann.

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