• Post category:TV
  • Post last modified:01/22/2023

The Wannsee Conference


Dietrich Mattausch. Photo: Rearguard Films

In 1942, senior Nazis gather in a villa on Lake Wannsee to discuss the final solution to their Jew problem; Obergruppenführer Heydrich (Dietrich Mattausch) wants to make sure that everybody is on board. The first film to depict this historic meeting pays close attention to the surviving protocol. In the Nuremberg trials, it was used as evidence against Nazi war criminals; here, it is the basis for a teleplay that illustrates the camaraderie and tension between these men. The despicable crimes they discuss turn into bureaucratic issues that need to be solved over generous amounts of cognac. Horrifying, and impossible to ignore.

1984-Austria-West Germany. 85 min. Color. Produced by Manfred Korytowski. Directed by Heinz Schirk. Teleplay: Paul Mommertz. Cast: Dietrich Mattausch (Reinhard Heydrich), Gerd Böckmann (Adolf Eichmann), Peter Fitz (Wilhelm Stuckart), Günter Spörrle, Hans-Werner Bussinger, Franz Rudnick. 

Trivia: Original title: Die Wannseekonferenz. Released in theaters in the U.S. The meeting was also depicted in Conspiracy (2001) and The Conference (2022). 

Last word: “My intention was to make a record for the future, a document for young people in Germany. I had to show that it was possible for one conference to lead to six million dead people. Young people must know what was Germany in 1939-1945. […] I show no concentration camps, no discussion of what happened before or after, no background about Nazism or anything, only 85 minutes in the Wannsee Villa on Jan. 20, 1942. […] I spent a long time researching the language of the Nazis at that time. They didn’t speak Goethe, they spoke Nazi, and I interviewed many people from that time to find the right language.” (Korytowski, The New York Times)

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