Collection of Material/Videos Details about Videos / Films

Details about documentaries on history and present
Amen sam so amen sam
Auf der Kippe
Auf Wiedersehen im Himmel

Details about feature films on history and present
Schwarze Katze, weißer Kater
Sidonie

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Details about documentaries on history and present


Title

Amen sam so amen sam – Wir sind, was wir sind
directed by Hans Panner, Austria 1995, approx. 36'.

Source of supply

Verein Roma, Spitalgasse 4, 7400 Oberwart; Phone (+43) 03352/33059; mail to office@verein-roma.at

Short description

Film on the history and present of Burgenland Roma

Content

The title Amen sam so amen sam means "We are what we are". It is the agenda and a whish at the same time, expressing the Burgenland-Roma's efforts to help an ethnic group which has been persecuted over decades back on its feet, as well as the efforts to resist annihilation and to demand real integration.

Being recognized as Roma and Austrians – this whish has been fulfilled with the legal recognition of Roma as an ethnic group, and it is with this that the film starts. In the next scene, the pictures of the Oberwart assassination in 1995, in which 4 Roma were killed, show that there is still a long way to go before they will really be accepted by the majority population.

The film's frame tells the story of a child who, born in a concentration camp, loses its parents there; and within this frame it tells the Roma's history from Maria Theresia, to the National Socialist era, and the postwar era, up to the foundation of the Verein Roma in 1989. It becomes clear that history is not past and over, but a part of the present. The following issues are touched upon: the fear which is still a part of those "born after", the inability and unwillingness to forget, and the question: Can History repeat itself?

For long stretches, this film is fairly poetic, with pictures by Karl Stojka, and scenes showing the Roma's Oberwart of the 90ies. It tells about real events, lets the Roma themselves talk about their hopes and fears, all bound together by the frame story (told in Burgenland-Romani with German subtitles), which is fictitious but could be true nonetheless.

Amen sam so amen sam is less a documentary than a film which uses impressions of the past and the present in order to help give access to the generally unknown fate of an Austrian group of Roma.

Perspective

A film on the Burgenland-Roma, which has turned into a film by the Roma thanks to their active participation.

Goal

Showing the Burgenland-Roma's history up to the present-day situation. Various historical and topical events are discussed and can – depending on form and syllabus – be analyzed in depth and discussed with their background.

Showing that history and present are inseparably interconnected, and that present-day problems and situations are often a consequence of a historical situation.

Target Group

Adolescents 12 and older, and adults. In school it could probably be used from the 6th grade onwards.

Reference

History and Social Studies, Geography and Economy, Political Education

Collection of Material/Video Amen sam so amen sam


Title

Auf der Kippe
directed by Andrei Schwartz, Germany 1997, approax. 90'.

Source of supply

Matthias-Film gemeinnützige GmbH, Gänsheidestraße 67, D-70184 Stuttgart; Phone (+49) 0711/243456; http://www.matthias-film.de/; mail to info@matthias-film.de or vertrieb@matthias-film.de.
Note: The price of € 150,- (2004) includes the license for showing this film free of charge

Short description

A documentary on the Roma in Romania who eke out their existence near a waste-disposal site, earning money by reselling recyclable matter; "a funny yet touching movie, touching without sentimentality" (German Film Institute)

Content

Andrei Schwartz, himself used to waste disposal sites, because he used to play there in his youth – in the 60ies – in Bucharest, documents the life in the Roma settlement "Dallas" on the outskirts of the Romanian town Cluj (Klausenburg).

The film shows how the families "master" their life "on the dump". Always on the verge of being arrested because the settlement is illegal, the Roma make an important contribution to the recycling of the city's waste. They also sort out "newly arrived" waste – collecting paper, bottles, aluminium, brass, and iron. Those resources are, separately, brought to the city's jumble site once a week.
With this sparse income, the Roma try to assure their survival, which is only possible if the children work with them. For the children, this is a particular problem, as they should attend school at the same time. Thus, they work till late in the night or very early in the morning, in order to arrive at school on time and clean.

This film impressively describes "normal" day-to-day life of the Roma in an environment which seems unreal to the observer: after work, the children are washed and cared for in ruined barracks of 4 m², laundry is put up outside to dry, just as if the waste disposal site wasn't there. But "Dallas" is the real environment of these people. Nobody leaves that place, except because of death.

Perspective

In Andrei Schwartz' film the inhabitants of "Dalllas" get a chance to speak; in spite of waste, rejection and poverty an incredible joie de vivre can be felt, too.

Goal

The pupils get to know other ways of life, like here in the environment of the Roma on the waste disposal site; At the same time, they will see the normality within these adverse circumstances and will experience the Roma as people like me and you, living in a seemingly surreal world of poverty.

Target Group

According to the FSK, the film is suitable over 12. In school it can probably be used from the 6th grade onwards. Interesting also for adults.

Reference

History and Social Studies, Political Education, Geography and Economy

Collection of Material/Video Auf der Kippe


Title

Auf Wiedersehen im Himmel. Die Sinti-Kinder von der St. Josefspflege
directed by Michael Krausnick / Romani Rose, Germany 1994, approax. 40'.

Source of supply

Dokumentations- und Kulturzentrum deutscher Sinti und Roma, Bremeckengasse 2, D-69117 Heidelberg; Phone (+49) 06221/981102; http://www.sinti-und-roma.de/; mail to dialog@sintiundroma.de.

Short description

The film shows the fate of 41 Sinti children who, in 1943/44, were held in a home of the Catholic Sankt Jakobspflege for National Socialist racial research; 39 of them were deported to Auschwitz in 1944.

Content

In 1943, 41 Sinti children are brought to the sisters of the children's home of the "Heilige Sankt Josefspflege". Their parents had been deported into concentration camps, the children were declared orphans and exempted from the deportation of all "gypsies" in March 1943, in order to serve the German racial researchers, first of all Eva Justin, as subjects for research.

In absurd tests the children were presented as inferior "Untermenschen", in order to back up the National Socialists' plans for extermination. When Eva Justin had finished her dissertation on "Lebensschicksale artfremd erzogener Zigeunerkinder und ihrer Nachkommen", the further fate of these children is sealed.

Early in 1944, the order for the deportation's preparation is given, 3 months later the transportation takes place. Under the pretext of a nice "outing", the children are bundled off after an emergency communion by the local priest. 39 times, the entry "admitted into Auschwitz" can be found on May 9th, 1944.

In the night of the 3rd August 1994, 2800 Sinti are killed in the gas chamber, among them the children of the Sankt Jakobspflege. Only 4 of the orphans survived.

Perspective

3 survivors remember the events of 1943/44; their statements are backed up by film excerpts and pictures from Eva Justin's "research paper". The role of the German racial researchers as well as that of the Catholic church in the "extinction of unworthy life" are emphasized.

Goal

The film not only tells about the dramatic fate of the children of Mulfingen, but also informs about the inhuman methods of the racial researchers, particularly Eva Justin, and gives information on how minorities were treated during National Socialism.

Target Group

The film is suitable for every interested observer older than 12. In school, the film could probably be used from the 8th grade on.

Reference

History and Social Studies, Political Education, Religion

Collection of Material/Video Auf Wiedersehen im Himmel

Details about feature films on history and present


Title

Schwarze Katze, weißer Kater
directed by Emir Kusturica, YU/F/Germany 1998; approax. 130'.

Source of supply

Easily available in video stores and on the internet; Video cassette or DVD

Short description

An opulent, funny feature film on (South-) Eastern European Roma, full of music, joie de vivre and drollery

Content

The small-time crooks Matko and Dadan and their families are at the center of the action, which is situated somewhere on the Balkans near the river Danube. Both are living from smuggling; but whereas Dandan lives in luxury, Matko is the eternal loser. Because he cannot pay back his debts to Dandan, he agrees to marry his son Zara – against the latter's will – to Dadan’s small daughter, called Ladybird. Shortly before the marriage, Matko's father dies, and tradition forbids marriage during the mourning period. So, the grandfather's death is kept a secret; when Dadan’s father dies, too, during the festivities, he is hidden in the attic.
In the end it takes two resurrections before Zara and Lovebird's marriage – this time with the right partners – can be celebrated.
The cast are mainly amateur actors, and the film is a firework of joie de vivre and drolleries, touching, lovable and funny. Originally planned as a documentary on Roma musicians, the film turned into a feature film on the Roma, a marriage and the obligatory musicians.

Note

Due to the film's length, it might be possible to show only individual scenes in class.

Perspective

An a-political film, without reference to history, which contrasts the live traditions with Western mannerisms and the gangster's (particularly Dadan's) status symbols; in the end, this contrast can be reconciled with the final quote from "Casablanca": "I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship". The sympathy Kusturica has towards his actors, the Roma, is tangible everywhere and saves the presentation of the "gypsies" as crooks and musicians full of life from a stereotypical portrayal.

Goal

This film is the "alternative program" to the great number of other films that show the Roma as victims of persecution, extinction and traumatism. We think it is very important to also see this other part of Roma life, namely happiness, ease and beauty despite – or perhaps even because of – all difficulties.

Target Group

The film is suitable for children 6 and over according to the FSK; it can probably be used in a meaningful way with children older than 12. Particularly suitable for older adolescents and adults.

Reference

Can be used in cross-curricular teaching; e.g. in the course of a project on the Roma (Sekundarstufe II)

Collection of Material/Video Schwarze Katze, weißer Kater


Title

Sidonie
directed by Karin Brandauer, Austria 1991, approax. 90'.

Source of supply

Matthias-Film gemeinnützige GmbH, Gänsheidestraße 67, D-70184 Stuttgart; Phone (+49) 0711/243456; http://www.matthias-film.de/; mail to info@matthias-film.de or vertrieb@matthias-film.de.
Note: The price of € 163.- (2004) includes the license for showing this film free of charge
! Lately, this film is also available through the media catalogue of the government (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur) for E 21,80 (2004): http://medienkatalog.bmbwk.gv.at/.

Short description

This is the film accompanying Erich Hackl's book Abschied von Sidonie; the script was written by Erich Hackl before he completed the narrative. The story, based on real events, of Sidonie Adlersburg, who was deported to Auschwitz in 1943, describes not only the life of a "gypsy girl", but also offers insight into the events before and during World War II.

Collection of Material/Book Abschied von Sidonie

Content

In August 1933, a newborn "gypsy girl" is found in front of the hospital in Steyr (Upper Austria). It has a piece of paper with it saying "My name is Sidonie Adlersburg and I was born on the road to Altheim. Looking for parents."

Sidonie is taken in by the Breirather family and nursed back to health. She grows up together with her foster brother Manfred and a second foster daughter Hilde, loved like a natural daughter. At first, the fact that Sidonie is a "gypsy" is no problem. The political development, however, aggravates the situation. When Sidonie is old enough to go to school, discrimination because of her "racial affiliation" is tangible.

The authorities in Steyr intensify their search for Sidonie’s natural mother. Finally, their efforts pay off; the Breirather family is told to immediately bring Sidonie to her natural mother; desperate attempts of the family to keep her follow.

Finally, Sidonie is handed over to her mother, and together with other gypsies deported from Camp Hopfgarten to Auschwitz with the last transport. There, she dies from humiliation, hunger, cold, and – most of all – from a broken heart.

After the war, life goes on as if Sidonie had never existed. Only her foster parents never get over her death. They are even denied putting up a memorial stone. It is only in 1988, a few months before the start of the film's shooting, that a memorial stone is put up in Sidonie’s hometown Letten; however, this is a tribute rather to Erich Hackl and the award his script won, than to Sidonie's memory.

Perspective

see book; in the film there is the additional perspective of the female director who sees Josefa, Sidonie's foster mother, as a representative of women fighting for the children and for life in a men's world, a world of war and violence, of ideologies and resistance.

Goal

see book; additionally differences between the two media film and book can be analyzed.

Target Group

According to the FSK, suitable from 6 years on. Because of the historical connections' complexity it can probably be used meaningfully only with children over 10 years. Also interesting for adults.

Reference (1)

History, Political Education, German

Collection of Material/Video Sidonie

1 For ideas on how to use this material in class see "Materialien für den Unterricht" ("Material for Class Use"), particularly: Collection of Material/Book Erich Hackl: Abschied von Sidonie. Teacher book, p. 107.
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