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// video | trailer "The Schorfheide" from the ARD-series "Mysterious Places"
(TV-premiere: March 9, 2015 | ARD)

// Trailer of "The Schorfheide - Where the Powerful Went Hunting" from the ARD-series "Mysterious Places" (i.a. with retired district forester Guenther Wlost and Erich Honecker's bodyguard Bernd Brueckner).

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PROJECTS | 2005 | GOODBYE GDR

GOODBYE GDR

Part 2 | Mielke and the Freedom

Author & Director:
Juergen Ast | Steffen Bayer

Commissioning Editor:
Ricarda Schlosshan

Duration:
45'

Production:
ZDF

"I love you, I love all the people!" Responsible for this historic "declaration of love" was the most feared and most hated man in East Germany. As Minister of State Security Service, Erich Mielke coined for 32 years more than almost any other the history of the GDR. He served Ulbricht and Honecker, he secured their power and also took part in the coups against them. He and his ministry decided who was a public enemy and who was not. Who was to kept under surveillance, who was to be arrested, to be prosecuted and in some cases to be "vanished from the scene". 91.000 people were officially under the command of Erich Mielke, another 200.000 were regarded as "nonofficial employees". His most important aim: the prevention of any kind of opposition and escape. His biggest enemy - the people's desire for freedom. Erich Mielke knew, should he ever lose this fight, the GDR and his own power will be lost forever.

Erich Mielke's "career" started in 1931 with a murder, with gunshots at three policemen at the Buelow Place in Berlin. The communist party of Germany protected him and arranged his escape to Moscow. From that moment on, Mielke pledged eternal loyalty to this party. After the 2nd World War he was in charge of the setup for a Stalinist security system in East Germany, in 1957 he was appointed Minister of State Security Service. But he couldn't do anything against masses of people escaping the country into the West and everyday those refugees became more and more. Finally just the building of the Wall had saved the East German regime. And soon the border of the GDR was so solid that every try to overcome it was dangerous to life. But breaking the longing for freedom was impossible for Mielke and it remained by hundreds of thousands, by millions of GDR citizens.

In the center of the documentary stands the infamous intelligence head Erich Mielke. His rise, his character, his enormous power. He was a German bourgeois and a coldly calculating technocrat, a Stalinist, that decided the fate of millions. Also the dramatic stories of GDR citizens looking for their way to freedom are being told. Stories full of courage, desperation and hope.