Der Aufenthalt

Director Frank Beyer / 1983 / German Democratic Republic

A true life story, based on novelist Kant's own experience as a 19-year-old drafted into the German army in 1944. Taken prisoner in Poland after only a few weeks' service, he is mistakenly identified by a distraught mother as the man responsible for her daughter's death in Lublin.

He endures dangerous prison tasks in between interrogation sessions. Only when he is quartered with some German officers does he realise the purpose of the interrogations. Also he learns for the first time of the existence of Lublin and other death camps, and of the horror of Nazi extermination methods. He incurs the wrath of his fellow Germans for his attitude, and narrowly escapes execution at their hands.

Eventually he is released by his Polish captors when are not inclined to apologise for subjecting him to such an ordeal. Beyer's direction is firm and fluent, with laconic dialogue and powerful performances. Incidentally, the more appropriate American release title is "Held for Questioning"-

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