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Death Is My Trade (1977)

Aus einem deutschen Leben (original title)
The disturbing biography of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Franz Lang and (uncredited) voice of Franz Lang als Junge (voice)
Elisabeth Schwarz ...
Else Lang
Kurt Hübner ...
Oberst von Jeseritz
Hans Korte ...
Sturmbannführer Kellner
Kai Taschner ...
Franz Lang als Junge
Siegurd Fitzek ...
Hauptmann Guenther
Wilfried Elste ...
Walter Czaschke ...
Obersturmbannführer Eichmann
Claus-Dieter Reents ...
Setzler - Ordonnanz
Anke Tegtmeyer ...
Hermann Günther ...
Soldat Schmitz
Peter Petran ...
Werner Eichhorn ...


The disturbing biography of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama





Release Date:

18 November 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Death Is My Trade  »

Filming Locations:


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Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Featured in Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

A very different sort of Holocaust movie.
13 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

"Aus einem deutschen Leben" (literally "from a German life", but titled "Death is my Trade" in the subtitled version) is a Holocaust film like none other that I've seen. Where "The Gray Zone" focused on life in Auschwitz, and "Jakob der Lügner" (aka "Jacob the Liar") focused on life in a Jewish ghetto, "Death is my Trade" centers on the life of Rudolph Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz II-Birkenau for the majority of its existence.

The main character's name in the film is Franz Lang. This name change was deliberate to ensure that the character is not automatically viewed as being some sort of villain or demon. Franz is an average German kid growing up during World War I. The film follows Franz as he grows up and becomes a hard, efficient, organized worker who eventually joins the National Socialist party in Germany. Impressionable young Franz takes orders as one of the utmost points of honor and duty, so when he is eventually asked by Heinrich Himmler to become commandant of the largest extermination camp built during WWII he barely hesitates to consider how heavy such a burden will be.

The film is based on the memoirs written by Rudolph Höss during the last few months of his life in a Polish prison before his execution in 1947. This is a beautiful look into the life of a German caught up in the Nazi "revolution" in Germany. It is beautiful because it does not demonize the Nazis as being inhuman; they were just as human as you and I. This film shows how it could have been anyone, but it just happened to be Rudolph Höss. A good piece of history even if it isn't the greatest work of cinema for the time. This movie wasn't made for entertainment; it was made to inform the ignorant.

7/10 for a film, but a true look into the humanity of the Nazis.

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