From an official perspective, marginal youth culture did not exist in East Germany. The topic of subcultures was taboo in the GDR, and groups such as goths, skinheads, anti-skins, punks and neo-Nazis were dismissed as social deviations promoted by western countries.
Director Roland Steiner had access to such young East Germans in the late 1980s. Over the course of four years, he brought them before the camera in an attempt to understand what drew them to these groups. This film builds upon interviews with young people, concerned parents and well-known (East) German authors Christa Wolf and Stefan Heym. It presents the attempts of young East Germans to come to terms with their country, history and society, and explores why they rebel against socialist norms and see violence as a means to solve problems.
This important historical document contributes to our understanding of East German society in the late 1980s. While it can provide an interesting contrast for discussions of neo-Nazism in Germany today, Our Children does not directly address or explain today’s rightwing radicalism, which has grown out of a very different social and political context from that documented in the film.
- Teaching Guide, by Katrin Bahr (Centre College)
- Bio- & Filmographies
- "They Are Our Children!" An interview with director Roland Steiner
- "The New, Old Danger: Young Neo-Nazis in the GDR," by director and activist Konrad Weiß