A HERO'S DEATH
The Tunnel and the Lie
It was the biggest escape in the history of the Berlin Wall: in one night of October 1964, 57 East-Berliners try their luck through a tunnel into West Berlin. For months prior, escape agents had worked on digging out the tunnel – but it came to a tragic end. A documentary about the soldier Egon Schultz and a Cold War lie.
It was the biggest escape in the history of the Berlin Wall: in one historic night of October 1964, 57 East-Berliners try their luck through a tunnel into West Berlin. Just before the last few reach the other side, the East German border guards notice the escape and open fire. Remarkably, all the refugees and their escape agents make it out of the tunnel unscathed, but one border guard is dead: 21-year-old officer Egon Schultz. The GDR proclaims him a national hero, claiming: "Bandits from West Berlin have violently killed officer Schultz." More than ten years after the German Reunification, documents are found proving otherwise. It seems Egon Schultz was inadvertently shot by one of his own comrades – but there's more to the story. In this documentary, escape agents from this historic event speak publicly for the first time about what happened that night. Hidden footage, filmed by a cameraman and stored for 36 years in a private apartment, is revealed publicly for the first time.
"In her superbly researched documentary, Britta Wauer tells the history of this escape which continues into the present day. The escape footage, captured by the camera virtuoso Thomas Mauch, is now being shown for the first time in 37 years. But these spectacular images are just one great aspect of Britta Wauer's multifaceted film. The author just keeps on revealing more and more details about this incredible story - a documentary as exciting as a thriller." FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU
"Together with three lawyers, the author demanded access to unpublished records from the former Stasi authority for this film. Even otherwise, Wauer's documentary is a sensation." TV AKTUELL
"A remarkable and educational film about one chapter of the Berlin Wall – history told with atmosphere and without unnecessary commentary." FUNKKORRESPONDENZ
Documentary, Germany 2001,
Writer / Director: Britta Wauer
DOP: Randa Chahoud
Editor: Berthold Baule
Creative Producer: Claudia Bissinger
TV Editors: Selina Riefenstahl, Dieter Zimmer
Producer: Tanja Ziegler, Ziegler Film
|2001||New Generation Grant Prize
German Television Prize
Axel Springer Prize
This film was made for French-German television. There is no official DVD release. If you are interested in watching "A Hero’s Death", please write us an e-mail and ask for a screener. We have a version with English subtitles.