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From Dachau with Love (Gruesse aus Dachau)

From Dachau with Love
Max Mannheimer in "From Dachau with Love" (photo © Bernd Fischer)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2002

It's not easy being German! Especially if you come from an infamous small town in Bavaria, known throughout the world as the site of the first Nazi concentration camp. And while Dachau dreams of being nothing more than as average as anywhere else in Germany, that is impossible.

Sixty years after World War II, the town remains trapped in an eternal Nazi time loop. Dachau. It's a name the residents can't shake off. It's on the check and credit cards issued by the local bank, it's written on their birth certificates and, worse still, the dreaded DAH car registration means they carry it with them in the open wherever they go.

While there is no magic solution for disconnecting Dachau's name from its past, it doesn't stop the good citizens from trying. In 2001, for example, they represented themselves at Berlin's International Tourism Fair, the world's largest, praising Dachau's Annual Beetroot Festival. And they are currently pressuring Lufthansa to finally name one of their aircraft after Dachau; other German towns have long since received the honor.

In fact, there is no end to the convulsions that the people of Dachau put themselves through to deal with their legacy. And in that way, they are the most German of Germans!

"I'm a storyteller," says Bernd Fischer (who spent his teenage years growing up in Dachau). "Everyone knows the name and the horrors of the concentration camp, but what about the town which has become synonymous with the crimes?"

From Dachau with Love, the veteran film, television and advertising cameraman Fischer's debut film, is "a fascinating, sympathetic, tragically funny and most topical film about Germans, Germany and the way they are dealing with their loathsome past."

His guides in this tourist-video-with-a-twist are a group of charismatic townspeople, taking him through their "own personal Dachau". We meet former prisoners, ex-politicians, the Don Quixote of Dachau, the son of a former concentration-camp guard, his father and the landlord of a strange Oompah-pub. All of them are united by living in Germany's most (in)famous town.
Genre History, Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2003
Director Bernd Fischer
Screenplay Bernd Fischer
Cinematography Bernd Fischer
Inge Scheider
Reinmar Henschke
Producers Jens Meurer, Claudia Gladziejewski
Production Company Egoli Tossell Film/Berlin, in cooperation with SWR/Stuttgart, Bayerischer Rundfunk
Runtime 77 min
Shooting Dates Dachau from October 2001 to August 2002
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern
German Distributor Timebandits Films/Potsdam

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