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Conspirators (Konspirantinnen, Die)

Scene from "Conspirators" (photo © Icon Film/Paul Meyer Filmproduktion)

12th April 1945: in Emmen in East Holland, ten Polish soldiers abandon their troop without leave; they have heard rumors that there is a German-controlled camp of Polish women nearby. After a short, wild drive across the marshes they actually come across a camp, which they “liberate”. Here they encounter 1,726 women who fought in the Warsaw Uprising and have been held there since the end of 1944. The fact that the survivors of the camp still celebrate the day of their liberation today indicates the lastingly significant role in their memories played by that shared experience as prisoners of war.

Under the relatively liberal Germans running the camp, they succeeded in realizing a model of self-administration that they had copied from one of the greatest conspiratorial undertakings of world history – the Polish underground state. Their camp life centered on the process of coming to terms with everyday life in the Polish underground and their horrific experiences during the repressed Warsaw Uprising in 1944. They should really have been allies for Hitler’s enemies, but instead they were abandoned to their fate. For that reason, many of the women felt betrayed, losing their sense of home; they did not want to return to Poland, where a Soviet regime had power, but had no wish to stay in one of the western Yalta countries, either. Paradoxically, it seems as if the camp had come to be their only home.

At locations in Warsaw, London and the Emsland, Paul Meyer met up with numerous former camp inmates and witnesses of that period. Concentrated interview montages alternating with carefully researched archive material give an impressive picture of the events of those years, reflecting life in the camp and the experiences of the Warsaw Uprising.
Genre History
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2006
Director Paul Meyer
Screenplay Paul Meyer
Cinematography Uli Fischer
Dagmar Kamlah, Barbara Toennieshen
Martina Schwarz, Chopin
Producers Herbert Schwering, Paul Meyer
Production Company COIN FILM/Cologne, in co-production with Paul Meyer Filmproduktion/Freiburg, NDR/Hamburg, ARTE
Runtime 90 min
Subtitled Versions English, German
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Braunschweig 2006
With backing from MFG Baden-Württemberg, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Nordmedia

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