Selection of  DEFA  Documentaries by Konrad Weiss from 1967 to 1988

Video Janusz Korczak

Ich bin klein, aber wichtig
(I'm Small, But Important)

Documentary about Janusz Korczak

Directed by Konrad Weiss
Screenplay: Walther Petri and Konrad Weiss
Cinematographers: Gunter Becher and Michael Lösche
Editor: Ingeborg Marszalek
Producers: Christina Eggert and Tadeusz Rejnowicz
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin 1988
Im Auftrag des Fernsehens der DDR
44 min, 35 mm, Colour, Black And White
First broadcast:
31st August 1989, East Germany TV (DFF)

This is a film-essay about Janusz Korczak, the Jew and Pole, the doctor and educator and writer. A film about a wonderful man. The film goes on the search for a lost time. It is the attempt to come closer to Korczak, and it is a very personal film. He tries a dialogue over the time - always in the knowledge about the terrible guilt of the Germans.
The film shows precious documents: Photographs of Janusz Korczak and his orphanage children, his books and letters. Friends, co-workers and pupils tell about their memories. And the film shows the faces of children - faces from yesterday and faces from today. And places, good places and bad places, the vanished world of Janusz Korczak.
Above all: In the film are quoted his ideas and words, which he wrote about children and for children. It is essential to preserve the memory of Janusz Korczak and his children and their vanished world. Because memory is the mystery of the reconciliation.

The first film tells the story of Ivo Klauck. He is a handicapped boy, 14 years old. To beginning says the boy in the wheelchair: "I would not like to be pitied. I don't need that, the little compassion." The film respects this attitude. It shows the everyday life of Ivo and other young people from the school for handicapped persons in Birkenwerder: The school, the boarding school, the home, the leisure time. Also are shown the distance from non-handicapped persons and the various obstacles, who make their everyday life so heavy.
The first film ends with the communist Jugendweihe (ceremony in which children are given adult social status) of Ivo. The second film - seven years later - begins with the wedding in the church. Sabine, the wife of Ivo, is also paraplegic. When the film was turned, she was unemployed. The two young people aborted their study. Now they are at the beginning of a new period of life. Their home is particularly important for the both.
In focus of attention of the second film are the opinions and attitudes of Ivo and Sabine. They speak about their difficulties in a world, which is often indifferent or hostile.

This short, experimental film reflects the threat of mankind by nuclear weapons. A photography of death in Hiroshima contrasts with expressive film-pictures of present life in Berlin. Together with the graphics "Shadow" by Martin Hoffmann and the music by Udo Zimmermann, creating this documentary pictures a new dimension.

The Roland in Potzlow 1985 Photo (c) by Konrad Weiss 1985-2016
The Roland in Potzlow 1985
Photo © Konrad Weiss

Geschichte und Geschichten
(Roland. Stories And History)

Documentary about Roland-statues

Screenplay and Direction by Konrad Weiss
Cinematographer: Michael Lösche
Editor: Angelika Arnold
Srcipt Editor: Jutta Diemert
Producer: Rainer Baumert
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin 1987
27 min, 35 mm, Colour
First broadcast: 24th April 1988
East Germany TV (DFF)

In some German cities, particularly in Northern Germany, stone giants stand - the Roland-statues. To their origin and their history the film follows. It begins with the Roland-legend and the Middle High German Roland-song. Stories of some Roland-statues are told in detail.

Movie Poster Erste Liebe

Erste Liebe (First Love)

A Film Diary

Directed by Konrad Weiss
Screenplay: Steffi Schröder and Konrad Weiss
Cinematographer: Michael Lösche
Composer: Thomas Natschinski
Lyrics: Konrad Weiss
Song: Marion Sprawe and Jessica
Sound: Jürgen Abel, Ulrich Fengler
Script Editor: Ev Wittmann
Producer: Rainer Baumert
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin 1985
65 min, 35 mm, Colour

The film-makers went on a discovery journey, longer than one year. It was a discovery journey to the boys and girls of a eighth class. They wanted to know from they: How is that with the love, if you are twelve, thirteen, fourteen? About what do you dream, what would you like? How it is, if you falls in love for the first time? What do the parents think about the first love, what the teachers, what think the others in the class?
In the focal point of the film-diary are standing Claudia and Thomas. She is thirteen and he is seventeen years old. They experience the great luck of the first love. Without shyness they let the film-spectators see a little bit of their happiness.

René, a five years old boy, lives on an old, isolated farm in Mecklenburg. The film shows, how René and his sister, his parents and grandparents on the farm live and work. It describe their relationship to the animals, to nature and to the people in the village. René comments the impressive pictures in dialogue with the film-makers.

Photo © by Konrad Weiss 2014
Photo: © Konrad Weiss

Die Tür (The Door)

Documentary about the restoration
of a baroque door in Güstrow, Germany

Screenplay and Direction by Konrad Weiss
Cinematographer: Heiner Sylvester
Sound: Kurt Hoy, Hansjürgen Mittag
Editor: Eleonore Burke
Producer: Günter Zaleike
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin 1978
26 min, 35 mm, Black And White

In summer 1978, six pupils from the secondary school in Güstrow, a town in Mecklenburg, have restored a 200 years old baroque door. There was the danger that the door could be destroyed, like as much was neglected by the communists in the old part of town. The film shows the manifold processing steps, which were necessary for the preservation of the door.
But the essential is: The DOOR is a symbol. Its restoration is a allegory for a responsible dealing with the heritage of forefathers. When he is seeing the film, the spectator has freedom to play with form and thoughts. Free associations of thoughts are possible on many different ways.
The film was temporarily forbidden in the GDR.

The pictures to this film were taken in Krasnowidowo, a remote village at Volga river. The Russian writer Maxim Gorki led there a withdrawn life in the year 1888. It's a village, in which the farmers today live still almost in such a way as before one hundred years.
In his narration "Der Morgen" describes Maxim Gorki with poetic strength the beginning of a new day. The music and the film pictures take up his motives. Also were added a few letters, written by Maxim Gorki to the children, and others written from children to him. These texts be illustrated with historical photographs and film documents.

The Diary of Dawid Rubnowicz

Dawids Tagebuch (Dawid's Diary)

Documentary based on
Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz

Directed by Konrad Weiss
Screenplay: Walther Petri, Konrad Weiss
Cinematographer: Michael Lösche
Sound: Stefan Edler and Henner Golz
Editor: Rita Blach
Script Editor: Ev Wittmann
Producer: Günter Zaleike, Tadeusz Rejnowicz
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin 1980
25 min, 35 mm, Black and White, Colour

1957 found a woman in the small Polish town Bodzentyn a few exercise books: The diary of Dawid Rubinowicz. Dawid was twelve years old, when he began to write his diary - 1940, in time of war. Because he was Jew, he was not allowed to go to the school. But courageously he wrote down, what happened in this terrible time. This was his resistance against the Germans. In this way Dawid fought against the fear, and like this he retained his human dignity in the midst of fright and death. Dawid's diary ends in June 1942. He was murdered a short time later with his father and his mother, his brother and his sister in the German extermination camp Treblinka.
This documentary film follows the traces of the Jewish boy. The exactitude and the plainness, with which Dawid wrote his diary, are very impressive. These notes, dictated by reality, have high documentary merit. They are completed in the film by photographs, film documents and pictures of the landscape, in which Dawid has lived

The Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz was repeated published in German translation. Last by Walther Petri with photos from the film "Dawids' diary"; for young people over the age of 12.
Cover Dawid Kinderbuchverlag
Cover Dawid Ausgabe 1988
Cover Dawid Ausgabe 2006

That is a film-portrait of an unmarried woman, a female worker of the lamp-factory in Berlin. Pictures from the working sphere of the young woman are confronted with scenes from her family life. She has three children, whom she educates alone. Always she has to work, and has hardly a free minute for itself. But for their children she has always time.

Gantulag Photo © by Konrad Weiss
Photo © Konrad Weiss

Ein gelbes Pferd, schnell wie der Wind
(A Yellow Horse, Fast As The Wind)

Documentary for Children
TV-Series "A Special Day"

Screenplay and Direction by Konrad Weiss
Cinematographer: Michael Lösche
Sound: Rolf Roelke and Z. Dolshinsuren
Editor: Karin Klöpsch
Script Editor: Ev Wittmann
Producer: Bathuu Dashguntew and Karlheinz Haarnagell
DEFA Studio für Dokumentarfilme
Berlin, 1977
14 min, 35 mm, Colour
First broadcast:
8th January 1978, East German TV (DFF

In the east of the Mongolian steppe - in Salchit, the valley of the wind - stand tents and yurts of a geological expedition. German and Mongolian specialists work there. Some of the miners and geologists live there with their families. In the middle of the steppe gives it a small German kindergarten.
But the German children played not with the Mongolian children. Between tents and yurts was an invisible border. But Claudia, a girl from Germany, six years old, had a desire. She wanted also wildly to ride through the steppe like the Mongolian boy Gantulag. Sometimes Gantulag has given her his horse Schar-mor. In this way the children became acquainted with each other, and better to understand.

In 1942 had in Berlin, the German capital, a group of anti-fascists the National Socialist exhibition of hate "Das Sowjetparadies" (the soviet-paradise) set into fire. The resistance group consisted predominantly of young Jewish communists. Their head was Herbert Baum, which was a forced labourer in the Siemens company. 21 members of the group became condemned to death. Herbert Baum was murdered during the preliminary investigation.
In this film some survivors of Jewish resistance-fighters report on their courageous operation. They remember their murdered friends' and comrades' in struggle.

© Konrad Weiss 1967-2024