The series tells the story of Hermann Steputat, born in 1934, in the village of Jokehnen in Eastern Prussia. The day he is born is also the day Hitler comes to power in Germany, and ...
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The series tells the story of Hermann Steputat, born in 1934, in the village of Jokehnen in Eastern Prussia. The day he is born is also the day Hitler comes to power in Germany, and Hermann's grows up under the Nazi regime and during the years of WW2. At first it seems, the village can survive the war, but eventually the Soviets break through the defenses and march into Eastern Prussia. The attempt to of the villagers to join the trek of replaced Germans towards the West is stopped by the Soviet troops, the men from the village are sent to Siberia, women and children are initially sent back to the village, but when the region becomes part of Poland, they are evicted and sent West to Germany under appalling conditions.
Originally it's a German TV production in three parts directed by Michael Lähn in 1987. The story is about the Ostprussian tailor family Steputat who like anybody else in their village (Jokehnen) believes much in what Hitler can do to protect them from the big eastern threat. In 1934 Karl and Martha Steputat had their newborn baby boy christened Hermann. That happens the very same day Germany's old Reichpresident Hindenburg dies.
For some years the family is having a happy life in Jokehnen and Wolfshagen, even if there are both a mighty manor estate as well as Nazi collaborators in the neighborhood, making people implicated into disagreeable things.
However, dark clouds begin to show up when war rumbling moves closer and closer towards the village. Soon illusions are completely crushed. Hitler portraits have to be removed from the walls. After a while the villagers must leave their homes. The Russians were back in Ostprussia! Elderly people recall the invading troops in 1914 - how they bombed and destroyed.
Armin Mueller-Stahl is brilliant as Karl Steputat. Actually he was once born in Tilsit in northern Ostprussia.
"JOKEHNEN" is a very thrilling drama, affecting to watch how people tragically are driven away from the land they were born in. Arno Surminski wrote the story. In real life it was he who was born in Jokehnen that particular day in 1934. And the real name of the village was actually Jaeglack (Jeglawki), situated by the old causeway right between the smaller towns of Drengfurt and Barten. When the World War II was over Jokehnen (near the Masurischer Lakes) became Polish, while the northern part including Hauptstadt Königsberg became a part of the Soviet Union. All surviving Ostprussians were forced to move west, thousands of them crowding aboard in freight train wagons. The film is brilliantly telling the story how these people were suffering with broken dreams, broken ideals, broken everything. And the fate of the Steputats was just one out of thousand others.
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