Rote Kapelle, Die (2003) Movie Script

The Red Orchestra was a group of very different people...
... In terms of temperament, sex,
political direction and education
... that were connected to each other...
... by their clear rejection of National Socialism...
... and the desire to end
the Nazi regime and bring an end to the war.
It was a group of people...
... who quickly wanted to
make that terrible war end.
They fought for human freedom.
They were idealists,
whatever their background
The feeling was getting stronger...
... that something had to be done against Hitler
There were people who had been
in concentration camps
... and they had not forgotten it, of course .
This is a film that recalls one of her phrases:
You can talk,
but no one does anything.
That was said by Cato (Bontjes van Beek).
Harro (Schulze-Boysen) often took us as children
on his sailing boat.
Then we went on picnics and had
delicious baking and roast food
A new world open to us.
They played guitar and harmonica and sang beautiful songs.
I did not want to discuss what our beloved Fuhrer was up to every day.
We met in the Grunewald,
just for a day out.
Kurt Schuhmacher disappeared. He had a practice grenade of the Wehrmacht.
Wooden, but it looked
like a grenade.
He was practising in the bushes
to throw a grenade.
To throw and take cover.
He was preparing for the revolution.
There were people who were not living
in the brown crap
I do not understand why they were so excited...
... those guys running around in their mustard yellow uniform.
It looked like baby poop.
Some said 'Heil Hitler',
...others said nothing
It could have been a Nazi
who pretended to be opposed...
... or someone who just did not care.
And I often felt everywhere
a dark cloud was over us.
Most people were just scared...
... because there was hardship
if they were arrested...
... and a sore head as the pianist Kreiten
(executed 1943) discovered ...
He had made negative remarks about Adolf Hitler in the house of one of his mother's friends
You always kept your ears open, so you
would hear if something was up.
You also learned not to talk with
people you did not know.
It is hard to imagine.
You could only really talk freely
in the bathroom, with running water...
... or in a moving car.
We listened to BBC London
with that famous pom-pom-pom-pom.
When I hear that now,
I still get a chill
If you did not listen to it alone
you could get the death penalty.
It surprised me that in 1939,
when Hitler started the war...
that there were about 800,000 people
... mostly Social Democrats and Communists...
...awaiting trial
or who were already in camps...
... for being a dissenter, opposition, etc.
Germany was not a monolithic place, and
we are only discoverring this now.
You had the Fertsch family, who lived
just around the corner in the Landhausstrasse.
I met them through a dentist called Himpel.
who was a staunch anti-Nazi.
I got on well with him
His fiance was a girl called Terwiel.
We were there together and started talking.
Later he asked me,
when we were alone somewhere...
... if I wanted to work with him.
I first I did not understand
what he meant.
But when he said :
" I put my fate in your hands."
I knew what he meant and I said: Yes, I will.
Helmut Himpel went to the homes of
his Jewish patients and treated them.
Free, of course.
There was a Jewish architect, called Nachtlicht
Helmut (Himpel) always brought them food
when they got together
My sister wore the Star of David, of course.
Helmut Roloff (father of the man making this film, a Pianist) was with her at that time.
There was this policeman
who said:
Stay away from that woman.
She is a Jewish.
But Helmut Roloff did not support
that ridiculous Nazi propaganda.
and he just kept on walking together
along with my sister.
On the corner was a shop where
the exterior was completely destroyed.
All the shop's windows were broken.
There were a lot of people watching.
But inside there
still hung curtains or something.
Behind the curtains there was
apparently a Jewish family.
At one point she was foolish
One of the sons, who was about
15 or 16, suddenly looked out
As soon as they saw him,
they broke his legs
All those people who were watching,
were gone ... afraid were they . But had they behaved bravely they would have been beaten
I was in the S-Bahn
from Wannsee to the Zoo.
suddenly I saw that the synagogue in the
Fasanenstrasse was on fire
we were in the train, everyone saw it
and nobody said anything.
I looked around and asked:
Why do they not get the fire-service
Why does that not happen?
The people sat there quietly
and no one looked up or said anything.
I was so wound up about it.
The people knew what was going on.
And that the Jews were rounded up...
.. at Grunewald station and then
taken to the east.
How did you know about something like that?
- The news went around quickly
Some people happened to know, or
railwaymen who were there...
... who told it to their wives, and it
gets back to her mother or aunt...
... and so it came out
They disappeared and died,
you came to know about it ...
... because it was your friends.
We asked for a Visa to immigrate to the U.S..
They said: Fine, your turn is in
about eight years, in 1944.
Then you can emigrate
By then my parents were all killed
and my sister survived in hiding.
And I was in England with the Kindertransport.
Resistance in Berlin had no hierarchical system.
They were different circles of friends
who formed the resistance...
... these circles overlapped.
Loose groups coalesced
at the end of the 30s.
The centre point was (Harro) Schulze-Boysen,
an Air Force officer
and Arvid Harnack (A lawyer and economist)
Arvid Harnack worked at the Ministry of Economic Affairs
... And since the 30s he had been in
contact with people of the Soviet embassy.
In early 1941 SchuIze-Boysen and Harnack
went to the Soviet embassy.
There, they told someone
... that Hitler would probably attack the Soviet Union soon
Harnack did not see himself as a traitor.
.. he thought it his duty to warn others...
... that the Nazis were
criminals and traitors.
They were renegades, because of the policies of Hitler
... so they opposed Hitler
wherever they could.
... with information for the enemies
of Hitler, amongst other means
Just as there was contact with the Soviet embassy...
... there was also contact with the U.S.,
by Mildred Harnack.
... she came from Wisconsin and was the only American...
... who was executed for treason by the Nazis, in 1943.
My mother had met Mrs. Harnack
and my father was excited...
... that Harnack had been in to the U.S.
sought him out and asked:
maybe we can go to lunch sometime?
And Arvid said: I would really like that.
Donald Heath befriended Arvid Harnack in 1938
Heath was 1st secretary of the
U.S. Embassy in Berlin.
But he was also gathering information
for Henry Morgenthau...
... The US Secretary for the Treasury
We went to Krumme Lanke,
a suburb of Berlin...
... and went for a long
walk with Arvid and Mildred.
I listened to the conversation and I thought, wow.
My father and Arvid were good friends and they argued and called each other names
... and this is secret. When we got home,
my father said:
... you must not tell where we are
going and with whom...
... or who's calling us.
What my father needed most...
... was as much detail as possible about the
Russian invasion
Through his job, SchuIze-Boysen had information
... about what reconnaissance aircraft had found...
... and about troop movements.
Harnack knew a lot about the economic preparations and stuff.
Morgenthau and Roosevelt let my father know that a priority was...
... to find people who would warn about
anything that Hitler and Mussolini might
do that could lead to
... Wall Street collapsing again.
Donald Heath and Arvid Harnack
became friends.
Arvid explained as we walked through
the Spreewald
I can be the bridge between the U.S.
and the Russians, here in Germany
I understand them and they understand me.
I can be very useful for both camps.
The Soviet Union suggested that the group in Berlin
use radios...
... but things just did not work.
Hans Coppi took the radio
to Fritz and Hannelore Thiel ...
... who hid the radio in their home.
These actions
to send messages ...
... they were real acts of resistance
here in Berlin.
As were pasting posters, and distributing leaflets
on the Eastern Front...
.. and helping persecuted people
My father helped many people
to get away from Germany.
To America, where he had contacts.
I heard from my sister that she met
with Cato and another friend...
... on a part of the S-bahn ...
along which the French prisoners
of war were transported
Any contact with foreigners
was totally opposed my most people
It was prohibited in all cases.
We found that nonsense.
It started with notes on paper
where they tried to say ..
... what they needed most.
Every day I went from
Witzleben to Westkreuz.
I waited near a tunnel, where
the French came
Then I joined in that group, gathered notes
and disappeared.
It was a kind of adventure.
But there was also human warmth.
The French were happy and I was happy too.
In the spring of 1942 they had
a large anti-Soviet Exhibition in Berlin...
... under the title: The Soviet Paradise.
They're back: the Huns,
fast becoming a nightmare
A fist in our face
At this exhibition the Red Orchestra
wanted to do something.
For example, they made small posters with slogans like:
The Nazi paradise: War, hunger,
lies, Gestapo - How much longer?
They went in pairs, usually
a man and a woman...
... Who then pretended to be a couple in love
while the girls stuck the posters.
In the background stood
Harro Schulze-Boysen, watching the action.
In uniform, with a gun.
He covered them, so nothing happened to them.
He looked like the perfect German officer:
Slim, a head like a greyhound,
his eyes...
But he was extremely intelligent.
That did not fit the image.
He wanted people to
realize that there were war crimes...
... and that
human rights were being violated.
These Jews were agitating against the Wehrmacht
When the German attack on Moscow
was repulsed...
... they began to make and distribute pamphlets
Schulze-Boysen took photographs, which was very dangerous...
... And foreign newspapers,
Swiss and Spanish...
... told us how the war was going.
That gave us courage.
The broadsheet AGIS
(named after a Spartan King)
... was written and distributed by
the group in the winter of '41-'42
That was a very sharp,
critical text about the Nazis.
In the name of the State
atrocities against...
civilians and prisoners are made
Every day that the war lasts longer,
brings more suffering and casualties
Each new war day increases the
debt that we will have to pay
What can we do to show our free will?
... one must ensure that he
does what he can...
... the opposite of what this state demands of him.
There were very careful with secret address books...
... with important people in it,
names removed...
... and those people were sent letters
very carefully.
-Anonymoulys, of course.
Sometimes we provided a return address
Then I put the name von Adelsheim on the back.
That brought some laughter
The members of the Red Orchestra
took a typewriter...
... Typed pamphlets on it
and put everything in envelopes.
We used gloves.
It was hard to get envelopes.
And it was difficult to put so many similar items
in a mailbox...
.. because they could be noticed
in the Post.
I took the subway to the Thiel Platz,
from the Hohenzollern Platz, where we lived.
I had a briefcase
on my lap...
... which was filled with anti-government leaflets.
For my safety no-one else
knew what i was doing
So it was not possible,
should they be arrested...
... for them to say anything incriminating
Many of them did not know anyone else other
than three, four,or five people ...
... with whom they worked.
It also happened that you could,
for no reason...
...... be searched by a group of Gestapo
... and they suddenly went searching
through all your stuff
But it was part of your approach,
to not appear worried.
You did not think:
"What can happen"?
You just thought, I need to
behave as inconspicuously as possible.
Many people who received such a pamphlet,
did not read it anyway and threw it away.
Most handed them to the Police and the Gestapo.
In the Gestapo files
we find lists of recipients...
...and Post Offices
Some investigators
worked out that it was the work of
the Red Orchestra...
...but detailed investigations by the
Gestapo, in 1942 ...
... came to nothing.
At this time, the Russian Military Intelligence
had an employee in Brussels.
There was a radio message from Moscow ...
.. in the autumn of 1941,
that he had to go to Berlin.
.. because the radio traffic between
Berlin and Moscow did not work.
In that radio message
were also the coded addresses...
... of three members of the Red Orchestra,
here in Berlin.
After the Gestapo had crushed the Brussels and Paris branches of the Orchestra in 1942 ...
... they had learnt to decipher their radio messages
It was on September 12, 1942.
It was very early in the morning and I was asleep
in the room where we children slept ...
Suddenly I heard loud voices:.
Halt. Stop, or I'll shoot
I carefully looked out the window.....
... and saw that they had got their hands on my
father, who had ...
.. escaped through the basement.
On the 16th September 1942
the Gestapo came ...
... with as many men as we had rooms
Libertas (Schulze-Boysen) pulled me off the bus
and said ...
... something terrible has happened
Harro (Schulze-Boysen) is arrested.
After the arrest of Schulze-Boysen...
.. the Thiels no longer wanted
the radio in their house
They put it into a stroller
and brought it to Helmut Himpel.
One day
Freulein Terwiel called me...
the fiance of Himpel.
She said I had to come soon.
There was something and she had for me. It was
urgent. So I went there.
I only found Herr Himpel there.
Freulein Terwiel was not there.
Himpel said to me:
Take these home and hide them.
What was I supposed to do?
Did I say ...
.. I can not. My parents know nothing, I
have to ask them.
That would have been ridiculous.
So I took them.
Because nobody stopped me and checked, nothing happened to me.
When my father was allowed visitors. I remember, we were sitting on the terrace.
He was handcuffed. And we still talked to those young men ...
as if ... it was quite common. We really did not understand how bad it was.
My father had a stomach ailment
and asked the Gestapo officers...
... If he could take his pills.
No, you might take poison.
My mother and aunt Busset
and I were drinking tea.
When the bell rang.
I went to open it, unsuspectingly.
There were two obnoxious guys,
one had a wart on his forehead:
'Crime Squad. "
So I ask: What do you want from us?
'Is your brother at home? "
I say: No, he is not here.
'Where is he?'
I do not know.
I should have said:
Am I my brother's keeper?
Then they ask: Where is his room?
They pushed me aside and went there.
After a while someone put the key in the lock
it was my brother coming home.
'We're looking for a suitcase. "
So I ask: What kind of case?
Then they said "do not lie",
Herr Himpel has told us everything.
That was stupid of them, because when I knew that they had already Himpel.
I did not have to hide the fact that I knew him.
So I said: Oh, are you looking for that.
He had never opened the suitcase.
- I could not.
The key was gone in fact.
This, later, saved my life.
It happened again
We hardly dared to breathe
or talkout of fear and terror.
When Helmut came out...
... with those two guys on his heels.
who didn't leave him alone
After a while my father came home.
Then we had so tell him.
Then I was very worried about him!
He sat at his desk with his hands before his eyes and there were tears.
I had never seen my father cry.
The prisoners went to the so-called "house prison"...
... In the headquarters of the Gestapo
on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8.
My father and my sister went to
My mother and I went to Alexanderplatz.
The infamous prison is now demolished.
We had to go to be identified,
photos and stuff.
When I was put down... at that device
... I formed an idea...
... from what I could say. I assumed
they wanted to know everything
What were you thinking?
I just thought:
How come I am here ...
... and what can I say
that sounds a little convincing...
... and does not betray others?
He thinks that he is OK because he
could remember exactly...
... when the bag got there
...and he was someone who knew nothing
but who played music with Terwiel and Himpel.
They were very musical and
had a record collection.
The second was that his friends
did not like him, nobody liked him.
That's Schulze-Boysen.
This is Graudenz, I believe.
Yes, that's Graudenz.
This is Himpel.
And right after that comes his girlfriend, the girl
In the fall of 1942 the Gestapo arrested...
... more than 100 people who belonged to the so-called Red Orchestra.
My mother and I were both
put alone in a cell.
I was 16 a dreamy
and romantic child.
I really was desperate,
there alone in that cell.
You did not know how Iong it would take,
or if you would get out, what you should say.
He gave me a pat on my head,
what a father might do, and said:
Goodbye, son.
When the interrogation by the Gestapo began.
That went for hours.
Then they asked if I knew someone,
they actually had all the names.
She always asked: Do you know this or that?
No, I did not know all them
If you say no, he says: You're lying.
If you say yes, you are responsible for someone.
The first interview was conducted
by a Gestapo man.
He was not friendly...
... but he did not hit
me immediately
I thought that perhaps would still came.
But when these hearings involved
beatings and torture ...
... the secretaries looked the other way
when the interrogator hit
The Gestapo used all means
against the Red Orchestra.
Not only torture, but of course also
psychological tricks.
My father had a birthday on November 12th
We had duck
that was his favorite food, duck.
For his birthday, we were in the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse...
... we set the table in the office
of the Gestapo guy
...we girls had roasted duck at home
The birthday meal was for him ...
... so that the four of us could eat together
Of course that room was bugged.
When I went down into that cell...
... I was handcuffed.
I remember that those handcuffs
were on me all the time
After about a week, I was taken to Spandau ..
.. when the handcuffs came off
Did you sleep with the handcuffs on?
of course. You can not
stay awake for one week.
The next morning my father said
he went looking for Helmut
I said, I'm going too.
First we arrived at Alexanderplatz
and asked where the Gestapo was.
People looked at us strangely
but they pointed us anyway.
There was one who was outrageously polite: Sit down, and so on.
How can I help you
When we said
My father said nothing
first,so I said:
My brother was picked up yesterday and we want to find him now.
Then he took a thick book.
He flipped some pages and then said:
He is not here. The serious cases
are in Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse.
You could ring the bell as if it were an ordinary house.
So I called and who opened the door?
And it was the guy with the wart on his forehead.
As if he had been waiting for us.
Professor, sit down,
Then he said:
What did your son do?
And my father said: What did he do?
We know nothing.
"Do you know anything?" And then they
squeezed me. I shouted at them:
I've already told you that we did not know
what my brother did in private.
We grumble about him at home of course.
Then he said:
You do not need to know.
In any case, your brother will remain with us.
On a bed crawling with bugs
If you wanted to use the bed
you had to push the bugs aside.
They bit us all over
and we complained about it.
We were in the men's prison
and the jailer said:
Those bugs will give you
something to eat.
I will also never forget.
The number of women suddenly increased
... there was no place for them. They were on the 5th floor, I was on the 4th ...
... it was furnished for women. But it was
actually a men's prison.
Those women did not have their needs met..
... but they carried on their lives.
Rainer Kilchenmeister and Cato (Bontjes van Beek) were in cells above the other.
They exchanged letters on a string ...
... that went up and down.
Cato was my companion.
She was a part of my life.
And I was with her.
She had someone. It was important that you had someone to take care of ...
also in the camp.Looking after someone gave me some dignity...
So it went there it is.
You remained human by helping others.
My mother sat with her and she whistled out the window and said ..
"Thoughts are free."
Hearing that made them happy.
Every Saturday Heilwig and I went
to the prison.
We made small packets
with some goodies in them.
We went through lots of corridors
and they locked the door behind you
But we could not approach him inside.
- I did not see, but they did pass them on.
They poked it with their knives to check ...
.... if there something wrong in it.
So mean.Then it was sealed ...
... and delivered to Spandau.
If I lay there in bed at night and tried to sleep...
... of course I thought about what
I had done.
But I never thought that I had
done the wrong thing.
Well the idea came to me ...
... that they wanted to murder me in any case.
Harro Schulze-Boysen, Erwin Gehrts
and others were soldiers.
The Nazi regime decided to
court martial them.
This also applied to citizens and women.
Then I thought I really ought to
get in contact with Himpel...
... to know what he said.
So I wrote him a letter, in which I
pretended to blame him ..
Dear Herr Himpel,
how can you say...
... that we talked about politics
.. when we only played music together?
He knew what i was doing
because it was not right about the music
Once a day the prisoners were
allowed to walk in the courtyard.
We walked in the order of
our cell doors.
Therefore Himpel and I walked
a long way away from each other.
I stepped out of line...
... and pretended that something
was wrong with my shoe.
I fumbled a bit and waited until
Himpel caught up
Then I go walking with him
I waited until Himpel
was even closer to me...
... and pressed my letter in his hand.
I remember, when I gave
him that letter...
... I felt my heart skip.
He destroyed everything.
The letters were never found,
not even the one he sent me.
He wrote me:
Exactly as I have explained to you.
Those words he had clipped from a newspaper.
"And MT."
That was Marie Terwiel.
That was a relief for me.
Maybe I would not be
executed immediately.
Added to that, in the court martial
sat a young senior officer ...
... who was very ambitious:
Manfred Roeder.
He was not satisfied with the
research of the Gestapo.
He interrogated the group yet again,
and also their family members.
Himpel then wrote to him about me:
He appeared to be sympathetic towards me
Later, of course, it was the opposite.
I was also pleasantly surprised by him,
but I did not trust those people
I have just said about Himpel:
It amazes me what you said about him.
He was an excellent student.
He would not hear.
If I said something, he thought I was stupid.
I really wanted him to believe me
My mother went to the Ministry...
... to talk to him about Cato.
Later she said: When I saw that man,
his face, and that smile of his... was clear to me that I could
expect nothing from him ...
... that man will never sign a pardon.
The ruling was on December 19,
the execution took place on 22 December.
It couldn't have been done faster
It had nothing to do with due process.
Mildred Harnack (An American married to Arvid Harnack) was not allowed any witnesses
... there were people who testified after torture ...
... they could not speak to their lawyer
They were then assigned a lawyer...
... but that often was not until the day before or on the day of trial itself...
... who could talk for five minutes
with his clients
One sentence has particularly touched me:
'Schulze-Boysen has never honestly served the
National Socialist state. "
Thats why I'm very proud of my brother.
The first death sentences
were pronounced in December
Of course that was terrible to hear.
You were locked in your cell
and then you heard something.
Dear Rainer. Yes, that was a blow
this demand of the prosecuting officer.
But I believe that in life
there have been people so infinitely sweet ...
that ...I think it is not true
When she wrote to me:
Now that the judgment has been pronounced
The Chief Prosecutor is demanding ...
... that children be executed also ...
... that's just madness ...
... because they had stuck up posters
and opposed the war.
Liane Berkowitz was 18
when she was arrested...
... and three months pregnant
She was just pregnant while Hilde Coppi
was in her 8th month, I believe.
Even the court advised
Hitler to grant these people a pardon ...
... as had happened in a few other cases.
He rejected those requests at once, in one stroke.
Probably out of anger for some military defeat...
... he had just had. He rejected
a pardon instantly.
On August 5, 1943
these women...
... including my mother,
were executed.
Hilde Coppi and Liane Berkowitz
had their children in their cells.
They had six weeks respite
and then were killed
... by the guillotine of Pletzensee.
Liane Berkowitz's child went
to a hospital and died there.
We do not know whether ..
... it was because Liane was malnourished
or becasue of prison beatings.
She was a victim ...
... of the murderess actions by the
sick Nazis.
Himpel had a meeting in January,
if I remember correctly.
When he came back, he was
immediately handcuffed.
For those who had received the death penalty,
they were handcuffed.
Dear Cato,
it is impossible for me to write everything I feel for you
Yesterday was a terrible day for me.
After the verdict.
I almost had a tantrum,
but when I heard your voice ...
... I was quiet again.
As tranquil as a little boy
hearing the voice of his mother.
Dear Rainer, you're such
a very fine, dear boy.
Your letter makes me so happy.
I want to always carry it with me...
... like the farewell letter from Heinz.
Should I really die, do not be too sad.
Remember me.
A request yet: Be wise and do not
get involved with bad things
I do mean that you have to be a martyr.
That is meaningless.
You are badly needed here.
You have so many good qualities.
There is such a wealth of in love in you.
Which is the highest and most beautiful thing man possesses.
I love you like you're my brother.
Maybe you will see my brother Tim again also .
Go to my mother.
That you must promise me, Dear Rainer.
I love life and people infinitely
I leave this life therefore
without any resentment, let alone hate.
Maybe Heinz and I will die
at the same time. That would be nice.
For the two of us go together,
therefore, these three days were so good
I still hope for a miracle,
that will see us live.
Think of your father, dear Rainer,
and avoid unnecessarily risk.
I do not know why I must die,
but everything makes sense if we can find it.
You know I do not like men crying.
That's all.
Heinz also cried.
At the end we still laugh, because we are so happy together.
Rainier, Live by the beauty
in art and in every person...
... and learn to think with your heart.
May the God of old protect you.
Much love from your Cato.
When I went to Berlin
and saw Cato in prison.
She was brought to us. She had
a bracelet with TK it.
Then I said
Cato, are you coming back with us very soon.
No, no, she said. Here.
A band around her arm with TK
Todeskandidat (Death candidate)
Cato, of course, cried, and I had a lump in my throat.
I could not say anything.
What could you say...
to someone who was near death
Especially for members of the Red Orchestra
in December 1942...
... in Pletzensee they suspended a beam
with eight meat hooks it
So they were not guillotined, but hung
The noblest execution was the bullet, then came the axe...
... and the most degrading form was
the noose
In her farewell letter Libertas writes:.
Tell everyone about us
In reality, the family had been under strict orders...
. . to say nothing about it, otherwise
they would go to the concentration camp.
With regard to the Red Orchestra
... it was important to Hitler,
that no one came to know anything
he could not accept and he probably
could not even understand ...
... that there were decent people
who were ready to thwart him
A day after Himpel
was given the death penalty...
... my husband was released.
Himpel gave him his will on a smuggled note
and he took it.
This was ignored in the outside world
The door flew open and there stood Helmut.
He looked like a ghost,
he was so skinny. Terrible.
I took Himpel's will to
I rang the bell,
but no one answered.
I walked down the stairs where I saw
Herr Terwiel, doctor Terwiel.
He asked in a shocked voice
Had his mother opened the door?
I said: No, no one came.
I told him everything
and he was very nice.
He said: How could I tell my mother that my sister was executed?
Therefore we said that she went to Switzerland.
And Herr Himpel too.
After the war I found it interesting
to see that prison again.
What struck me was the ordinary
sounds that you could hear
I heard someone shouting at
I recognised the man,
as he came nearer ...
... and there I saw that it was one of the worst
guards there.
My father sent me from Berlin a v-mail
... a letter that was put on film...
... he told that me of his sadness at learning
... that Arvid and Mildred were killed.
Sorry, what year was that?
- In 1945.
When the Allies were allowed in Berlin, he immediately went looking for everybody.
It stunned him, I could tell by the
way he was writing
it was such a shame to lose people
I used to put the pictures
of my parents on the table.
I found it so hard to imagine ...
... how they were when they were alive.
The images did not move, there was no film.
A few years ago I received a document
... that my father had completed just before his execution.
That said how tall he was.
He was 1.86 metres tall.
My grandparents had told
that he was 1.96 metres tall
I had always felt that I had that to look forward to.
When I saw that document
and found...
that we're practically the
same height.
I was shocked when I heard that the families of the resistance...
... ... even those of the 20 July resistance,
did not get pensions for many years.
Their husbands were treated as traitors...
... and although they had fought against Hitler
they got nothing.
But SS widows and people like that
did get a pension...
when they came due
I remember my sister Annemarie
told me...
... that the German government
paid reperations, and as I recall
It was about $ 25 per month
for what they had been through...
as a non-Aryan
living underground in Berlin.
.. the $25 dollars were also
intended to compensate...
... for the death of my parents
It was called Wiedergutmachung (reperation),
but this was not good..
I got 5 marks for each day that I had been detained
I say thats appallingl: If I had been
there ten years, I did what I had to.
Then I would have had more beer
The officer was obviously
de nazified, but that did not help.
I filled in a form form him
and to a question about my father I said ...
... he was executed.
He replied, full of hatred:
Your father's death is nothing.
That touched me greatly.
That's why I left.
I could not have
In West Berlin, it was such
that we were all afraid to say ....
... we had been part of the Red Orchestra because we felt...
... that the Nazis were everywhere
and still firmly in the saddle.
I have not lost
the fear of Nazis
They were still supporters of Hitler, only you did not see it anymore.
On the day of the capitulation
they did not suddenly become democrats.
In the late 40s, my parents and their friends were in the West ...
... again seen as traitors and spies ...
... ... because she had tried to fight Hitler with the wrong party
The war ended in 1945,
the Cold War began in 1947...
... and from that moment
former Nazis and Gestapo agents were...
... contesting the work of the Red Orchestra
Horst Kopkow had been a leading
investigator of the Red Orchestra.
He gave a statement to
the Allies...
... in return, the British secret service
gave him a new identity.
Kopkow became Horst Horst Kordes.
He soon made a new
career and no one stopped him.
Mr. Roeder, judge advocate
at the trial of the Orchestra...
... wanted to save his own skin and
he tried to convince the Americans that
... the Red Orchestra was still a dangerous and
active espionage group.
espionage-phobia was repeatedly
fueled by the Cold War.
The Gestapo described
the Red Orchestra as a ...
... symbol of Soviet espionage.
This was after 1945 when there was hostility on
both sides...
... both the West and the East
Heinz Hiihne, a journalist
for Der Spiegel...
Described an espionage group ...
which had signaled to Moscow.
How did you find out that
500 radio messages were sent?
The 500 radio messages
spoken of...
... I would add:
unfortunately for me...
... was only an assertion by
some people...
... who were aware of certain things...
... but who obviously did not
have radio communications.
If the Red Army had received that type of information from the Red Orchestra
... which the more sensational reports spoke of ...
... they could have responded much
more efficiently to the Nazis.
In the West, they saw it as a
espionage group for the Soviet Union...
... and in the East as a group of scouts
Not spies, but scouts,
which had a positive tone.
Minister Mielke and the Stasi posthumously awarded
medals to members of the Red Orchestra...
.. as a kind of predecessor of the Stasi
I was shocked at
events in East Germany...
... portraits of members
of the Red Orchestra...
... sat beside portraits of DDR policemen...
...who were killed in firefights
between East and West.
The members of the Red Orchestra
were, therefore, used for propaganda.
Communism is not a political party,
but a way of life.
.. an evil way of life...
... related to a disease,
that spreads like an epidemic.
therefore, a quarantine was necessary, in order to avoid it infecting this country.
The CIA, or rather
its predecessor, the CIC...
... started in 1945 and 1946...
... to store all the files of those involved in the
Red Orchestra.
The Americans took not only their Gestapo files ...
... but also the moral judgments
of the Gestapo, about the group.
When proceedings started...
... against Manfred Roeder, because of all the death sentences he had demanded...
a US officer in luneburg...
... began an investigation between, '49 and '51.
Ultimately no charges were filed...
... because no serious injustice
was suspected.
Manfred Roeder had behaved, they said,
as they would have expected in 1942 ..
... considering the law at the time. His crimes ...
... had been legitimized by 1951.
Nobody in nazi judicial system has ever paid for their crimes.
The judges and lawyers did not go to jail.
This was in part because they were tried by their
peers, other judges and lawyers
I only know that they argue that what they
did was legal
... according to the existing law.
That can be used as an excuse for everything.
In 1950, my grandparents decided...
... to move to the eastern part of Berlin
A major reason for this decision...
... was the fact that Manfred Roeder had ...
... openly joined a neo-Nazi party.
When Manfred Roeder was brought to trial ...
... the U.S. prosecutors against him said:
Sorry, but the Nuremberg court ...
... delivered justice for many Jews. Sorry,
but we can not do anything for you.
People in our department of State
were seeking revenge ...
... they said: There is no good in any German. Dont tell me any Germans did any good.
If they have fought against Hitler they were probably bad guys who were communists.
They were not good Germans. They were just traitors or something
Who had betrayed the cause.
But the real traitors to Germany
were Hitler and his associates.
You always said your father ..
.. the people of the Red Orchestra,
with their different opinions...
... had a common belief:
Fascism was the absolute evil...
... that had to be overcome and destroyed
They did, at least,
make their contribution
After the war they were considered
to be communist spies.
They cooperated with Moscow,
but it could have been London.
Auschwitz had to be stopped.
Then of course came the gulag.
But that's a different period.
In the period in question,
World War II...
... fascism was the enemy.
I think it's really time that people stoped
calling what little resistance there was ...
... good or bad. Its very subjective ...
... to divide resistance into 'good' or bad .