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Death is My Trade (Aus einem deutschen Leben)

Death is My Trade
Scene from "Death is My Trade" (photo courtesy of Filmmuseum Berlin/Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek)

Based on the novel La mort est mon metier by Robert Merle and on autobiographical notes by Rudolf Hoess.

Franz Lang, alias Rudolf Hoess, was the first commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. According to his own confession, he was responsible for the gassing of millions of people between 1941 and 1944. Even when confronted with the facts concerning murders carried out on his orders, he still saw them in the light of serving his people and his fatherland. Brought up strictly by his father, he worked as an aide in a hospital in World War I as a 17 year-old, was then unemployed and involved with the volunteer corps in post-war years. He came into contact with the Nazis through a former comrade-in-arms, and was then imprisoned with hard labor after murdering a Communist sentenced by a secret tribunal. Thereafter he established himself as a farmer in Pomerania, met Himmler for the first time and was married. Following Hitler’s rise to power, he accepted an offer to go to the concentration camp in Dachau as an adjutant, and finally was given the “historical task” of establishing the Auschwitz concentration camp as “the Final Solution of the Jewish problem”. After the war he was arrested, put to trial and executed in 1947.



Theodor Kotulla was born in 1928 in Upper Silesia/Poland, very close to Auschwitz, and died in 2001 in Munich. He fled to the West in 1946 and wrote for Frankfurter Hefte and Filmkritik before he started directing for film and television. A selection of his films includes: Zum Beispiel Bresson (1967), Bis zum Happy End (1968), Ohne Nachsicht (1971), and Von Gewalt keine Rede (1991), among others.
Genre History, Drama, Biopic
Category Feature
Year of Production 1977
Director Theodor Kotulla
Screenplay Theodor Kotulla
Cinematography Dieter Naujeck
Wolfgang Richter
Eberhard Weber
Wolfgang Schuenke
Cast Goetz George, Kai Taschner, Elisabeth Schwartz, Hans Korte, Kurt Huebner, Matthias Fuchs, Walter Czaschke, Siegurd Fitzek, Werner Schwuchow, Peter Franke, Claus-Dieter Reents, Anke Tegtmeyer, Peter Petran, Hermann Guenther, Wilfried Elste, Werner Eichhorn, Peter Moland, Hans Schulze
Producer Nils Nilson
Production Companies Iduna Film/Munich, WDR
Length 145 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Mono
Awards German Film Award in Silver 1978
German Distributor Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Berlin

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