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The Axe of Wandsbek (1951)

Das Beil von Wandsbek (original title)
After a crime is committed during the Nazi era in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg,the aspiring local leader,a ship owner,needs to find an executioner to kill the perpetrators(the crime is ... See full summary »


Falk Harnack

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erwin Geschonneck ... Albert Teetjen
Käthe Braun Käthe Braun ... Stine Teetjen
Gefion Helmke Gefion Helmke ... Dr. Käthe Neumeier
Willy A. Kleinau Willy A. Kleinau ... SS-Standartenführer Hans Peter Footh
Ursula Meissner Ursula Meissner ... Annette Koldewey
Blandine Ebinger Blandine Ebinger ... Aga Lintze
Hilde Sessak Hilde Sessak ... Anneliese Blüthe
Fritz Wisten Fritz Wisten ... Siegfried Mengers
Erika Dannhoff Erika Dannhoff ... Lene Prestow
Albert Garbe Albert Garbe ... Otto Merzenich
Hermann Stövesand Hermann Stövesand ... Friedrich Timme
Gert Schaefer Gert Schaefer ... Willi Schröter
Friedrich Honna Friedrich Honna ... Otto Lehmke
Gina Presgott Gina Presgott ... Dörte Lehmke
Charlotte Küter Charlotte Küter ... Geesche Barfey


After a crime is committed during the Nazi era in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg,the aspiring local leader,a ship owner,needs to find an executioner to kill the perpetrators(the crime is blamed on the Communists) and turns to a butcher,who has fallen on hard times and can use the cash. Written by Lawrence Chadbourne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






East Germany



Release Date:

11 May 1951 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Axe of Wandsbek See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

The tenderness of the butcher
24 December 2009 | by hasoschSee all my reviews

And alas, another masterpiece from the late GDR/DDR, edited in marvelous quality by the Institute for German Studies of the University of Massachussetts at Amherst! Thank you for this forgotten jewel! And look at the crew, there are actors inside that you could not seen anymore since the Silent Time and that you probably hear for the first time speaking - unless you had the chance to watch some of these movies in the former GDR/DDR.

I consider Dr. Falk Harnack's "Das Beil Von Wandsbek", together with "Obchod Na Korze/The Shop On Main Street" by Jan Kadar, and "Der Verlorene" by and with Peter Lorre as a Triptychon of the best World War II movies. Watch all the three, although the latter is still not available on international DVD (but you may order it from Germany and watch it on your computer or get one of the rare VHS editions edited by New Yorker Release some fifteen or so years ago).

Whoever has seen the scene where the newly "elected" headsman Teetjen (Erwin Geschonnek, who passed away not long ago, 100 years old, forgotten, in an assistant living home close to Leipzig) stands in his borrowed mask and mantel with his ax before the mirror and exercises, will never forget this picture even when he lies on his death-bed. This movie belongs without doubt to the greatest rediscoveries in film history. After having watched it, you will not be the same anymore. R.W. Fassbinder said that what makes a good movie is, that it continues playing in the heads of the watchers when they leave the cinema. Et Voici!

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