Departure into Dictatorship

Author & Director:
Eva Roeger | Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Jens Stubenrauch | Gabriele Trost | Mark Willock

4 x 25' | 60' | 90'

Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

astfilm productions | RBB | SWR // ARD

It is customary to give every new government 100 days to draw a first résumé of its work, its successes, its failures, its perspectives. A "grace period" that also applied to Chancellor Adolf Hitler. How he used it for his goals and plans more radically than anyone before him is told by the canon of many different voices. Diaries, across German society, tell different perspectives, perceptions and private stories. How can a civilized country, a democratic state, become a brutal dictatorship in just a few weeks?

Ninety years after Hitler came to power, the events of the first 100 days of Hitler's rule will be told through the canon of many different voices. Through the diaries of people who directly wrote down their impressions, feelings, wishes, fears, hopes at that time. Voices from all over Germany, voices of very different colors, right across German society. Different perspectives, perceptions and stories.

Contemporary and private history condensed into a panorama of German history. Recorded in 18 diaries. The then 39-year-old innkeeper Matthias J. Mehs from Wittlich in the Eifel, a convinced Catholic, is rather skeptical of Hitler. The 44-year-old housewife Luise Solmitz from Hamburg has high expectations of the new chancellor, but her husband has Jewish roots. The young Dresden carpenter apprentice Franz Albrecht Schall is an enthusiastic member of the NSDAP. For him, "Germany's awakening" begins. For the Jewish university lecturer Willy Cohn and his family from Breslau, the horrors of the "Third Reich" quickly become apparent. The 20-year-old Social Democrat Wilhelm Scheidler from Neustadt secretly writes down his dreams and fears, always worried that he will be searched and arrested.

How can a civilized country, a democratic state become a brutal dictatorship in just a few weeks? The film takes us from the day Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor (January 30), the establishment of the first concentration camps and the "Day of Potsdam" (March 21), to the boycott against Jewish businesses (April 1), the newly created "Labor Day" (May 1) and the book burnings. The film as a chronicle of an unprecedented conquest of power.