© DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
Theoretically, religion was not condoned by socialist doctrine. In practice, however, churches remained open throughout the history of the GDR and, in the country’s last years, offered important gathering places for those involved in the citizens’ rights and democracy movement that eventually led to the fall of the Wall and German unification. Because there are not many discussions or representations of religion in DEFA films, the exceptions are of particular interest. Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens, for example, stages a debate between the premises of socialism and Christianity, while The Mistake depicts a citizens’ movement gathering in 1989.