Thematic Series


The Goethe-Institut Boston and the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst


Suggested Film Pairings:

1) East/West before the Wall (1950s)

  • Sky without Stars (FRG, 1955, Helmut Käutner)
  • A Berlin Romance (GDR, 1956, dir. Gerhard Klein)  - OR -  Story of a Young Couple (GDR, 1951, dir. Kurt Maetzig)


2) Divided Germany - After the Wall

  • Yesterday Girl (FRG, 1966, dir. Alexander Kluge)
  • Divided Heaven (GDR, 1963, dir. Konrad Wolf)


3) Changing Roles of Women

  • The All-Round Reduced Personality - ReduPers (FRG, 1977, dir. Helke Sander)
  • The Dove on the Roof (GDR, 1971/2010, dir. Iris Gusner)


4) One Book, Two Films

  • The Axe of Wandsbek (FRG, 1981, dir. Heinrich Breloer)
  • The Axe of Wandsbek (GDR, 1951, dir. Falk Harnack)


5) Men, Boys & WWII

  • The Bridge (FRG, 1960, dir. Bernhard Wicki)
  • The Adventures of Werner Holt (GDR, 1965, dir. Joachim Kunert)


6) German Guilt

  • Zwischengleis (FRG, 1978, dir. Wolfgang Staudte)
  • The Second Track (GDR, 1962, dir. Joachim Kunert)  - OR -  The Murderers Are among Us (GDR, 1946, dir. Wolfgang Staudte)


7) Nazism in Germany

  • Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam (FRG, 1955, dir. Helmut Käutner)
  • Professor Mamlock (GDR, 1961, dir. Konrad Wolf)


Made in West|East Germany

Premiere 2010
German Studies Association conference
Oakland CA


The Made in West|East Germany film series draws on East German films from the DEFA Film Library and West German films from the Goethe-Institut Boston, to explore the interconnections and differences between East and West Germany during the Cold War. 


Since the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and German unification, scholars are increasingly looking for new ways to assess and teach about the Cold War period in German history and culture. Particularly challenging is the task of understanding the complex relationship that existed between East and West Germany – certainly on political and economic, but also on social and cultural levels.


Despite the division of Germany after WWII, scriptwriters, directors and other film artists on both sides were inspired by similar subjects, including: the War, the Holocaust and German guilt; the division of the country and its position at the center of the Cold War; daily life, the role of women and youth culture.


There were, of course, predictable differences between East and West German films addressing given topics; but at the same time, similarities, traditions and connections clearly linked the two film cultures.


The MADE IN WEST / EAST GERMANY series compares and contrasts films made in the FRG and GDR as a contribution to the evaluatation of how such subjects were handled and represented in two social systems and from two global perspectives. It currently features seven pairs of films, focusing on: WWII, the building of the Wall and division of Germany, and the growing independence of women.


But the series can expand into new domains simply by adding new film pairings; possible future topics could include: Grenzgänger; genre films; adaptations of German literary classics; migration, immigration and emigration; and the influence of American films East and West.

Shibboleth login