German Specialists on Assignment for the Soviet Union

Author & Director:
Martin Huebner

Commissioning Editor:
Dr. Katja Wildermuth


astfilm productions | for MDR | ARTE // ARTE

All over the Soviet occupation zone, where in demand German specialists can be found, armed special units of the Soviets are on their way. Houses are surrounded, a translator gives out the orders issued by the military officer on duty: "By order of the Soviet military administration you now have to work for five years in the Soviet Union! You can take along your wife and children and all the things you need ...". It was a shock for all those that have to follow the order. On October 22th at five o'clock in the morning Helmut Banas, a former technician and specialist for "Junkers" engines, is confronted with the order issued by Stalin. A large number of freight trains are loaded with the "Wonders of the German Engineering" and the people needed to do the job. Under full steam the trains are bound for the East.

The secret operation was planned and executed with perfection. No one was to escape the Soviet "headhunters". Ten days later the displaced Germans arrive somewhere in the middle of the Soviet Union. Helmut Banas from Dessau and about eight hundred colleagues arrive in Kuibitchev near the Volga. The V2 rocket experts are taken to the secluded island of Gorodomlia. Nobody has any clue of what the Soviets intend to do with them. The captured German "masterminds", of which most not too long ago were fanatically working for "Fuehrer, folk and fatherland", soon they now proof to be very cooperative. They all know, Germany is destroyed and finding work is absolutely impossible.

In this context Hitler's "conquerors of the sky" have no problem to adapt working for the Soviets. After the war is lost, there is no need for novel jet planes and rockets in the rubbles of Germany. The Soviets grant many privileges to the specialists, for example the salary is double the amount of what Soviet experts are paid. For the German specialists it turns out to be a life in a "gilded cage".