Where the Powerful Went Hunting

ARD-series: "Mysterious Places"

Author & Director:
Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editor:
Jens Stubenrauch


Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

astfilm productions | RBB // ARD

The Schorfheide is a wooded natural area some 40 miles northeast of Berlin. For centuries, an odd and hidden part of the life of Germany's rulers has played out in this unique stretch of country. On a historical walk through the Schorfheide, one uncovers an intriguing phenomenon: The duality of political power and hunting. German rulers of various backgrounds used to come to the Schorfheide, from Monarchs to Social Democrats, from Nazis to Communists ... they all came to talk, stalk and shoot.

Emperor Wilhelm II preferred hunting over politics. Nazi leader Hermann Goering glorified himself in his ostentatious hunting lodge "Carinhall". East German politicians Walter Ulbricht, Erich Honecker and Erich Mielke left their mark as well: The order to build the Berlin Wall was given in the Schorfheide. The leaders of East Berlin welcomed the men from the Kremlin in the Schorfheide, scheming and dealing, mixing politics and personal life in a way East German citizens could not imagine.

The film tells a unique story of privilege and psychosis, ruthlessness and megalomania, arrogance and utter conventionality. It is a fascinating chapter of German history, full of myths, truths and legends.