The Schmooze

Friday Film: Sudeten Germans Were Victims, Too

Courtesy of Corinth Films

The Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia began with the annexation of the largely German-speaking Sudetenland in October 1938. Most people are unaware of the aftermath of the occupation, in which Czech people took revenge on their German-speaking neighbors. This story is explored in a German-Czech-Austrian feature film titled “Habermann,” opening August 5 at New York’s Quad Cinema and being screened at the JCC in Manhattan from August 7 to 11.

The film tells the fact-based story of a wealthy mill owner and the scion of an old German family, August Habermann (Mark Waschke). He is apolitical and initially naïve about the Nazis, but he believes in dealing fairly with his neighbors and employees, whether they are Czech or German. The woman he marries in 1937 is a Czech, as is his best friend, a forester who is married in turn to a German.

Still, August’s orphaned young brother, Hans, enthusiastically supports the Nazis, as do many (if not most) Sudeten Germans. Hans is an exemplary member of the Hitler Youth movement and eagerly volunteers to join the Wehrmacht to fight the Soviet Union.

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Friday Film: Sudeten Germans Were Victims, Too

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