Based on the “2 or 3 things” he knows about his Nazi war criminal father, Malte Ludin dares to create a film account of how his father’s horrible past dominates his family’s present.
Malte Ludin, the youngest son of six children of the Nazi war criminal Hanns Ludin, executed in 1947, dares to create a filmic analysis of his father’s guilt and how it is, or isn’t, recalled in his own family. Third Reich records document the historical truth about Ludin’s participation in Nazi crimes. Hanns Elard Ludin, member of the SA since 1931, advanced to the post of German envoy to Slovakia in 1941. His assignment included the deportation of Slovak Jews to the extermination camps. The three remaining sisters of the filmmaker cultivate the heroic image of their father conveyed to them by their mother. They refuse to challenge the father figure of their childhood or to recognize the guilt of the Nazi official. The next generation, the grandchildren, are more objective, although they exhibit traces of defence mechanisms when interviewed. Malte Ludin is not an impartial bystander when confronted with the family-nurtured portrait of a good Nazi and a hero. He musters up the courage to speak to Slovak and Jewish survivors, Hanns Ludin’s victims. But at the end he stands alone at his father’s grave. At this point, if not before, the viewer realizes that in the country of the Holocaust perpetrators, 60 years after the guns fell silent, only a few offspring are able to face such a painful encounter with the after-effects of the guilt of their fathers.
The Film Rating Centre in Wiesbaden (FBW) approval stamp “Highly Valuable”: “One of the most stimulating and gripping German documentaries, an antidote to the current trend toward sweeping history under the carpet and the media’s flippant toying with taboo breaking.” Martin Wolf, Der Spiegel: “Malte Ludin constantly refers to his own doubts about his ability as a family chronicler. He thus not only paints a portrait of a war criminal, but also a poignant, moving study about family ties, responsibility and guilt.” Georg Seeßlen, epd-Film: “Repressed thoughts become clear in the process of repression. It is shocking to see how each sore spot is touched, how a child’s desperate love for his or her father can translate into fatal sympathy for the ideology of the perpetrators.
The screening is in partnership with Goethe-Institut Prag.