Friesens in peril

Friesens in peril

Dorf im roten Sturm (Original Title)

Communists authorities are making life as difficult as possible for a village of Volga Germans in the Soviet Union, with taxes and other oppression. When Mette, a half-Russian, half-Frisian woman, becomes the girlfriend of Kommissar Tschernoff, the Frisians murder her and throw her body in the swamp. Open violence breaks out, and the Red Army soldiers are all killed; the villagers set fire to their village and flee. Despite Nazi hostility to religion, this is a cynical piece of anti-Communist propaganda depicting the Communists as posting obscene anti-religious posters, and the Frisians piously declaring that all authority comes from God. The portrayal of Cherkov does not conform to the heavy-hand depiction of Communist as brutal and murderous in such films as Flüchtlinge; he is truly and passionately in love with Mette, and only with her death does he unleash his soldiers. A villager objects to the affair on the grounds that even though her mother was Russian, her father's Frisian blood "outweighs" foreign blood, and therefore she must not throw herself at a foreigner. Her murder is presented as in accordance with the ancient Germanic custom for "race pollution." After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, in 1939, the film was banned; in 1941, after the invasion of Russia, it was reissued under its new title, Dorf im roten Sturm.

1h 37min
November 19, 1935
Admin comments

As a historical artifact, this was fascinating to watch. It is more ideological than propagandistic. Well written dialog showing a complete unviability of the philosophy and beliefs of Christian pacifism. Surprisingly, Soviet commissars are shown rather as barbarian Slavic drunkards than conniving Juden Bolsheviks. Soviet commissars and soldiers resemble White army officers and soldiers more than Reds. Friedrich Kaybler is sterling as Jürgen Wagner. Wagner’s death at the end of the movie is very symbolic. His world of Christian pacifism is crumbling. He will never adjust to the new paradigm of violence. There is no place for him in the new world of confrontations and deadly conflicts. The girls are all blonde and dressed like the Dutch. The men look like German peasants. The German man’s dance is hilarious and looks more like an ultra-orthodox Jewish man’s dance at a wedding. The music during this dance is reminiscent of the famous Jewish song Hava Nagila.

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