Agent d’ingérence étrangère : Alle die mit uns auf Kaperfahrt fahren, müssen Männer mit Bärten sein. Jan und Hein und Klaas und Pit, die haben Bärte, die haben Bärte. Jan und Hein und Klaas und Pit, die haben Bärte, die fahren mit.

  • The Making of an SS Killer - The Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert - 4
    #Alfred_Filbert #Einsatzgruppen #génocide #shoa #Thomas_Harlan #Wundkanal

    It was not the first time during the shooting of Wundkanal that Filbert had presented himself as a victim on account of the fate of his brother. On another occasion he explains his imprisonment not as a result of the atrocities he had committed in Lithuania and Belarus but instead as a result of his brother expressing regret at the failure of the attempt on Hitler’s life in November 1939: ‘I had to as a result of my brother, as a result of this statement [following the attempt on Hitler’s life], I had to sit in prison for 18 [sic] years. I lost my eyesight in the process, I lost my honour, the nervous strain. Yes, thanks a lot!’(57) In Filbert’s eyes, it was ‘a crime under constraint’ ( ein erzwungenes Verbrechen ).(58) This response was aimed at Robert Kramer, who described Filbert as ‘guilty of one of the greatest crimes against humanity possible’.(59) On another occasion, Filbert weeps whilst talking about the fate of his brother. It initially appears to the viewer that Filbert’s show of emotion is on account of the suffering and death of his brother, before it becomes clear that he is in fact weeping – at least in part – for himself and his damaged career in the SS: ‘I naturally suffered a lot from this.’(60) In his bestselling book The Road Less Travelled , psychiatrist M. Scott Peck describes a not dissimilar situation he encountered during an interview with the parents of a schizophrenic patient, Susan. Describing to them Susan’s great progress in therapy, Peck was surprised to find Susan’s mother crying. It soon became clear that these were not tears of joy but tears of sadness. He eventually realised that Susan’s mother ‘was not crying for Susan but for herself’. Peck defined this failure to perceive the separateness of another person on an emotional level and the use of the other as a vehicle to express one’s own needs as narcissism.(61) Henry V. Dicks also characterised Filbert as a ‘narcissistic prig’.(62) In Filbert’s case, it was his brother Otto whom he was using as a vehicle to express his own needs.

    The two films, Wundkanal and Notre Nazi , should be watched consecutively,(63) and Harlan indeed drew up a legal contract to prevent Notre Nazi from being shown without Wundkanal.(64) Harlan, who also produced Notre Nazi,(65) later explained the film’s purpose:

    A film that unmasks Wundkanal . Wundkanal is a film about guilt, and Nôtre Nazi is a second film about guilt. The film about guilt merges into the film about the origins of guilt. This newly formed guilt, which Nôtre Nazi deals with, was our guilt. It was no wonder that this self-exposure had to be punished by the audience sooner or later.(66)

    Harlan was referring here to the public reaction when the two films were premiered at the Venice International Film Festival ( Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia ) at the end of August 1984. The film provoked anger, uproar, fits of dizziness and shattered glass doors.(67) Harlan was beaten at the exit to the cinema.68 As Harlan himself well knew, the shock provoked by the film was because of the perceived hounding of an old man:

    Here, a grandfather is kidnapped, not a father, and interrogated and tormented. And the grandfather is likeable; the grandchildren cannot stand to see how a seasoned forebear – even if he has much to answer for – is persecuted for a second time at his age; they shudder to see the patriarch encircled and questioned about 40-year-old murders and suicides, especially when they then watch Robert Kramer’s Our Nazi , the mirror image of WUNDKANAL: here, we expose ourselves and show how the persecutors quickly assume the attributes of the persecuted; we become revolting, above all myself. [. . .] Our Nazi , that is then myself.(69)

    It was a similar story at the Berlin International Film Festival ( Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin ) in February 1985, though the two films did share the Prize of the Readers’ Jury of the alternative Berlin magazine Zitty.(70) The films were also shown at the Strasbourg International Film Festival on Human Rights ( Festival International du Film des Droits de l’Homme de Strasbourg ) in 1984.(71) Lengthy articles appeared in the national weekly newspaper Die Zeit and the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel following the premiere in Venice.(72) Hans-Dieter Seidel from the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung found the juxtaposition of Auschwitz and Stammheim to be scandalous and ‘com- pletely obscene’ ( vollends widerwärtig ). This in turn provoked a response by the Hamburg-based, left-wing monthly magazine konkret in its October 1984 issue.(73)