As rumors reach them that the Allied armies are advancing on their concentration camp at Buchenwald, Polish prisoners renew their feeble hope for survival and freedom. When a group of prisoners is transferred from Auschwitz, a four-year-old child is smuggled into the camp in a valise. Born at Auschwitz, he is Jewish and will be killed if discovered. A group of prisoners decide to protect the child from the searching Germans, and although the kapos cannot smuggle the boy out of Buchenwald, they manage to hide him--moving from one place to another within the camp as the Nazis comb it. Threats and torture by SS men fail to turn up the boy who becomes a symbol of the struggle between captives and captors.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Bruno Apitz was inspired by the story of the child's survival to work his own experiences in Buchenwald (where he was a prisoner from 1937 - 1945) into a movie script. When his expose was turned down by the DEFA he decided to write a novel instead. The novel was enormously successful (it sold 2 million copies and was translated into many languages), prompting the DEFA to reconsider. See more »
East German TV version runs approx. twenty minutes longer. This version was released on DVD in 2018. See more »
As fiction, this is a fine film; but it is fiction.
The Communist prisoners did not lead a revolt to liberate Buchenwald, which was liberated by the United States Army. The movie does not show one American. The German Democratic Republic set up a ceremonial entry to the camp next to the tower that predated the camp. They put up a giant statue showing armed prisoners. After unification, the German government moved the entrance to the main gate (seen often in the movie) and closed off the ceremonial entrance. The tower was closed to the public, ostensibly because it was unsafe. The statues were allowed to rust. In any event, East Germany overlooked another force for revolt, the Canadians. An article I wrote about a stamp showing the monument brought a flood of mail from Canada informing me that the Canadians, not the Communists, were at the core of the revolt.
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