Open-Air-Film Retrospective: 'Denied Guilt and Lasting Responsibility'

24.08.2016, 20:00 - 27.08.2016, 23:00 Uhr

From 24 to 27 August 2016, films on the topic 'Denied Guilt and Lasting Responsibility' were shown in front of the visitor centre of the Mauthausen Memorial, starting at 08:00 pm.

Open-Air-Film Retrospective: 'Denied Guilt and Lasting Responsibility'
Open-Air-Film Retrospective in front of the visitor centre of the Mauthausen Memorial (photo credits: Mauthausen Memorial / Stephan Matyus)

Photo gallery (7)

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Never before in Austrian contemporary history has the question of comprehensive responsibility been raised for a problem of society in such an emphatic manner, as during the present crisis of dealing with the misery of exiles and refugees. Any current humane and democratic response to this crisis has a great deal to do with historical awareness, with remembrance and with dealing with our own history. Let us remember, that some decades ago all those, who were not agreeable to the Nazi regime, had to flee or were deported into camps or were murdered. Let us also remember the plight of the refugees, because only very few countries were ready to welcome the displaced Austrians, and thousands were rejected at the borders.

History does not repeat itself, but the moral responsibility rests with every generation. It is the more important to address the historical issues of guilt and of individual and social responsibility. The four feature films which were shown from 24 to 27 August 2016, starting at 08:00 pm in front of the visitor centre of the Mauthausen Memorial, are to trigger an active discussion of historical guilt and the insufficient confrontation with the past in the decades after 1945.

The open air film retrospective is being organised by the Mauthausen Memorial since 2005 and is dedicated to one priority theme every year. The film series is being curated by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Stern, Visual Contemporary and Cultural History, Institute for Contemporary History of the University of Vienna and by Mag. Stephan Matyus, Mauthausen Memorial.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 08:00 pm

'Judgement at Nuremberg'

USA 1961, 186 Min, Director: Stanley Kramer

In 1961, the Nuremberg Trials have long been concluded and the world-wide interest in legally dealing with the crimes against victims and persecuted persons of National Socialism is abating already, but not so the interest of survivors. They are presented in the film in a very documentary manner as witnesses for Daniel Haywood (Spencer Tracy), the leading judge of the American military tribunal against four foremost judges of the “Third Reich”. Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) is sitting in the dock, but has decided to remain silent, which has the judge doubt his guilt, and provides an opportunity to his defence counsel, to stage him not as the faithful servant of a criminal regime he was, but - much like Eichmann - as small cog in the system. The film is not just a representation of a court trial, because day-to-day political events, the everyday talking of people behind closed door or also on the streets, and the issue of individual responsibility, are also drawing the picture of the times.

Thursday, 25 August 2016, 08:00 pm

'Chronicle of a Murder'

GDR 1964, 92 min., Director: Joachim Hasler

Is there revenge or retaliation of survivors upon their tormentors, upon the murderers of their families? The 1950s in a West German town, the fug of collective repression, the negation of any guilt and responsibility characterise the social climate. A survivor expecting justice and hoping that Nazi perpetrators be put to trial, is only deemed as a troublemaker, a kind of arsonist among honest men. The DEFA film “Chronicle of a Murder” features also the situation of Jewish traditions under the terror of the Nazi regime. The film is based upon a story written by Leonhard Frank. The screenwriter Angel Wagenstein cooperated among others with Konrad Wolf, and played an important role in the democratic transformation in Bulgaria in 1990.

Friday, 26 August 2016, 08:00 pm

'Now and in the Hour of my Death'

GDR 1963, 98 min., Director: Konrad Petzold

The political crime film “Now and in the Hour of my Death” belongs to the series of DEFA films, which concentrated both on Nazi legacies and on the problems of denying and hushing up in Western Germany. The West German journalist Ella Conradi reports about the Eichmann Trial from Jerusalem. The atrocities described are so shocking for her that she terminates her reporting and returns to Germany. She is assigned to researching an obviously normal murder case. But suddenly,the threads reach back into Nazi times, they weave around the past of leading personalities in politics, in the judiciary and in business.

Saturday, 27 August 2016, 08:00 pm

'The Rose Garden'

GER/A/USA 1989, 112 min., Director: Fons Rademakers

“The Rose Garden” on the one hand is a drama about late atrocities of the Nazis, who as late as in 1945 hanged twenty Jewish children who had previously been misused for medical experiments at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp. On the other hand, it is an attempt at visualising the survivors’ behaviour in the continuing confrontation with Nazi war criminals, and a visualisation of the reversal of victim and perpetrator by the trial against Aaron Reichenbach (Maximilian Schell). Reichenbach believes to have recognised the concentration camp commander who was responsible for the above mentioned murder of the children, but is put to trial himself, because he had knocked this person down. Artur Brauner was both producer and screenwriter for the film “The Rose Garden”.

The films were introduced by a short presentation held by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Stern. After the showing of the films there was an opportunity for questions and discussions.

Guided Tours of the Mauthausen Memorial:

On Saturday, 27 August 2016, at 04:00 pm, prior to the start of the film retrospective, guided tours of the Mauthausen Memorial were offered.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Stern
Visual Contemporary and Cultural History, Institute for Contemporary History of the University of Vienna
University of Vienna


Mauthausen Memorial in cooperation with the department Visual Contemporary History and Cultural History of the University of Vienna.


Federal Institution KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen / Mauthausen Memorial
Minoritenplatz 9
1010 Wien
Tel: +43 1 53126 3039