The Condemned Village

(Das verurteilte Dorf)

GDR, 1952, 106 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Costume Design
Music (Score)


After years in Soviet captivity, farmer Heinz Weimann returns to the village of Bärenweiler, in West Germany. His joy at returning home is clouded by news that US occupation forces intend to build an airfield on village lands, in preparation for a confrontation with the Soviet Union. The villagers are expected to move out…

The villagers turn to the government and local bishop, but receive no assistance. Led by Heinz, they protest peacefully—but he is arrested and imprisoned. As the case becomes known, trade unions from all over West Germany mobilize to support and help the villagers. When American forces attempt to evict the villagers, residents of the surrounding villages march on Bärenweiler and show their solidarity. At the end, Bärenweiler is saved and the Americans are forced to leave and abandon their plans.



2017 Subversive Film Festival, Zagreb, Croatia
2016 Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland
2006 Berlin Int. Film Festival, Germany


Press comments

“A Cold War film that conjures up an anti-capitalist and anti-American popular front in West Germany, as well as shedding light on the style and effect of demagogy. An extremely interesting document of the period.”   —


The Condemned Village […] mobilizes Heimat as a defense against the threat of renewed warfare. […] The film represents the first foray into the territory of the Federal Republic by a DEFA plot.”   —Johannes von Moltke, No Place Like Home: Locations of Heimat in German Cinema




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