Jenseits des Krieges

East of War

Ruth Beckermann
White-tiled rooms, neon lighting, on the walls black and white photographs from the exhibition entitled Vernichtungskrieg (War of Extermination) documenting the atrocities committed by the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front. Against this background, Ruth Beckermann and cameraman Peter Roehsler have filmed former soldiers talking about their experiences beyond the bounds of "normal" warfare. With a mixture of helplessness, impotence, shame, opportunism and undiminished fanaticism, witnesses from that time tell of atrocities such as shootings of Russian prisoners-of-war, the murder of Jews and the rape and abuse of women. The differing accounts of these events demonstrate how selective perception was even in this most inhuman and brutal of environments. This film seeks not only to contribute to the demolition of the myth of the "decent" Wehrmacht (as opposed to the evil SS) but also to illuminate the period in which the Second Republic was founded in Austria and to make a diagnosis of the present. The images of this war that take shape in the accounts of these "talking heads" have an immediacy and power to move rarely found in historical documents or fictional portrayals.
Technical Data
Running time: 117
Format: Hi8 (FAZ 35mm)
Language spoken: German
Subtitles: English, French
Production year: 1996
Director(s): Ruth Beckermann
Writer(s): Ruth Beckermann
Cinematography: Peter Roehsler
Editing: Gertraud Luschützky
Producer: Joseph Aichholzer
Production company
Aichholzer Filmproduktion
Heumühlgasse 13-15/2/2/15
1040 Vienna
tel:+43 1 523 40 81