The True Story of the "Baldhead Gang"

Inge Bennewitz | Juergen Ast

Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editors:
Werner Grave | Anette Kanzler


astfilm productions | NDR | MDR | funded with means of the Federal Foundation for the Reappraise of the SED-Dictatorship // MDR

Summer 1961. Although the political tensions are high - masses of people leave the GDR into the West - the GDR coastline of the Baltic Sea remains for many sun worshippers a "Holiday-Paradise", even during this hottest summer in the Cold War. Parties, flirts, relaxing under the sun ... But for eleven young men, the most beautiful days of the year end abruptly on the 1st of August 1961 behind bars. They are charged of staging a putsch by terrorism and attempted murder, following the "lead of the fascistic provocation of June 17th 1953". A political crime is constructed, two show trials are staged. The young men are altogether convicted to 21 years of imprisonment.

What did happen? The scene of action: a beer-tent on the camping ground at the city of Bansin, party mood. Young people play guitar, drink beer, dance rock-and-roll. Just for fun, five of them have their hairs shaved off, like their western hero and idol Yul Brynner. For the innkeeper, it is "Western unculture". When some of the young men are arrested by the alerted "Volkspolizei", the GDR national police, suddenly hundreds of campers start to surround the small police station at the camping ground and vent their anger heatedly about the catastrophic supply gap in the country. The few policemen on-site - having their back to the wall - are no longer master of the situation. Finally called in task forces put an end to the "revolt" brutally.

Soon after, the DEFA produces the movie "Die Glatzkopfbande" - "The Baldhead Gang". Till today, the movie is still responsible for the untruthful believe that a gang of baldhead rowdies really had terrorized the vacationers and the beaches of the Baltic Sea. What is true about the legend, what is not? What does the DEFA movie tell and what does it conceal? Now, from the point of the genuine protagonists, the documentary reconstructs the true story of the " Baldhead Gang". For the first time after forty years, the then convicted talk in public about the fate they had to suffer.