Session Ten: Günter Peter Straschek – Film Emigration from Nazi Germany

Date: Monday 1 April
Time and Venue: Birkbeck Cinema 11:00-17:00, Goethe-Institut 19:00-22:00


For the very first time in the UK, we will be showing in full Peter Straschek’s astonishing five-part film-historical series about film personnel working in the German cinema industry who were forced into exile during the Nazi period. Parts 1-3 will be screened and discussed at Birkbeck Cinema in the daytime, while Parts 4 and 5 will be shown at the Goethe-Institut in the evening.

Günter Peter Straschek (1942-2009) belonged to the first cohort of students at the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB). He started studying film in 1966, alongside Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki, Holger Meins, Helke Sander, and others. His student film, A Western for the SDS [Ein Western für den SDS] (1967-1968), was confiscated by the director of the school, and the ensuing occupation of the director’s office led to the dismissal of Straschek and other students in 1968.

Based on extensive interviews, shot on 16mm in a series of static long takes, Film Emigration from Nazi Germany is one of the most fascinating examples of ‘film history on film’ ever produced. Straschek devoted years of his life researching the topic and accumulating both film and non-film materials. Apart from some radio features and articles, however, this 290-minute TV programme remains the only published trace of Straschek’s lifelong work on the emigration of film personnel. He had intended to publish a three-volume book, encompassing all available data about 3,000 emigrants originating from the centre and peripheries of film production, but the book never materialised.

Film details:

Film Emigration from Nazi Germany (Filmemigration aus Nazi-Deutschland), Dir. Günter Peter Straschek, Germany, 1975, digital (originally 16mm), 290 min. (5 X 58 min.), German with English subtitles

In collaboration with Goethe Institute, London.

With support from Austrian Cultural Forum, London.