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The Gleiwitz Case
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The Gleiwitz Case

The Gleiwitz Case reconstructs in detail the 1939 surprise attack by a Nazi unit on the radio station in Gleiwitz, a German town on the Polish border. This attack was blamed on Polish forces, thus served as Hitler's justification for marching into Poland and starting WWII. It shows how facts and opinions can be manipulated and how people are made to accept lies, murder and war.

To depict fascism, director Gerhard Klein and his Czech cameraman, Jan Curik, use an impressive visual language, assembling groups of people into ornaments and suppressing the individual within the masses. Their insight into the fundamentals of totalitarian power and violence met with disapproval among cultural politicians in the GDR and the film was accused of glorifying fascism. A leading cultural functionary actually commented that a Nazi director couldn't have made the film better himself. The Gleiwitz Case narrowly escaped censorship, but disappeared from theaters after only a few weeks. Today the film is considered one of the most modern and aesthetically experimental films in DEFA film history.