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Hamburg, Germany 1934: An executioner is needed. Teetjen (Erwin Geschonneck) makes the biggest mistake of his life. Because his butcher shop is facing bankruptcy, he agrees to execute a group of political prisoners for the Nazis. Once this becomes known, Teetjen's life falls apart.

The Axe of Wandsbek was the only DEFA film made by Falk Harnack, a former anti-Nazi resistance fighter who was interested in exploring the involvement of the middle class in Nazi crimes. Despite positive reviews, the film was withdrawn shortly after its premiere; it became the first East German film ever to be banned. The film is adapted from one of the most important works by German-Jewish author Arnold Zweig; basing the story on real events, Zweig wrote the novel in exile in Palestine in 1943.

Comments (1)

Byravan avatar
Byravan

Excellent film. The story is the first one based on actual events that occurred before WWII and after Kristallnacht. It shows that many Germans had a conscience before they were all railroaded into committing atrocities.