Held for Questioning

Original title: (Der Aufenthalt)
GDR, 1982, 98 min, color
In German; English subtitles

In the fall of 1945, only a few months after WWII, 19-year-old German POW Mark Niebuhr arrives with other prisoners at a train station near Warsaw. When a Polish woman accuses him of being the Nazi officer who killed her daughter, Mark is thrown into a Kafkaesque nightmare of accusations and persecution—first in solitary confinement, then among hostile Polish prisoners, and finally with German Nazis who assume he is a spy planted by the Poles.


Based on Hermann Kant’s autobiographical novel, the film—with top-notch performances—raises existential questions about crime and punishment, as well as obedience and responsibility. The lead is played by a young Sylvester Groth (Inglourious Basterds, The Reader, My Führer). Although the film was to screen at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival, East German officials withdrew it after the Polish government declared the film would stir up anti-Polish sentiments. Held for Questioning was one of East Germany’s official submissions for the Academy Awards.

Special features:
  • New digitally restored transfer
  • Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “When the Wind Turns: Held for Questioning,” by director Frank Beyer
  • Scriptwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase on the Film Production (2001, 9 min., color)

Held for Questioning

Screening Rights: 
Educational Streaming

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