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Fritz

Die Flucht aus Ostpreußen, 1945

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Die Flucht -
The Escape, dramatic account of the escape of an aristocratic family from their home in East Prussia in early 1945. They had to leave everything behind, some stayed to await their fate. The Countess organises and leads the Treck from the family estate with some of her family and many of the local population, the Russians in close pursuit. The Treck was over 1.200 km and took over 9 weeks. Millions were on the move, thousands never made it to the West and either perished on the way or disappeared without trace.

The leading role of Lena Gräfin von Mahlenberg is played by Maria Furtwängler, the granddaughter of Wilhelm Furtwängler, the famous  orchestral conductor in Bayreuth, Wagner admirer  and a controversial figure in the 3. Reich.

The story is based on the experiences of Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, the story on which the film script was based, was written by her great niece.

Originally a TV co-production by ARTE for the ARD around 2007, some of the scenes were filmed in Lithuania, others at Schloss Bothmer in Klütz/Mecklenburg.

Part 1  -

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Schloß Bothmer, Klütz/Mecklenburg, some of the scenes were filmed here

Scenes from the film

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Gräfin Lena greets her relative, Graf Ferdinand returning from the Front at the nearby station.

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Berthold Graf von Mahlenberg sees his granddaughter Viktoria for the first time.  He is too old and sick for the Treck,

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he is determined to take his own life when the Russians arrive.

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A last family get together with the Ortsgruppenleiter as a guest

 

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Heinrich Graf v.Gernstorff with his mother Sophie  -  Sophie Gräfin v. Gernstorff with her son, Graf Ferdinand.

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The last great family event before the end came...

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Graf Ferdinand is absent without leave from the front, and shortly after, commits suicide following a family dispute.

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Graf Rüdiger and Gräfin Sophie v. Gernstoff totally shocked over the loss of their youngest son, discuss the situation and ponder over the bleak future, but not openly

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Gräfin Lena and Francois Beauvais, the French prisoner of war, who worked on the estate

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Trecks fleeing from Lituania and Latvia arrive on the Estate

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Graf Heinrich is Oberstabsrichter (a military judge), here with his staff in the area near the Estate

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The prisoners of war have to make their own way to the West to escape the Soviet advance, they run into a Feldgendarmerie patrol

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Gräfin Lena with Babette

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On the long and difficult journey, death was constantly present, the old, the very young, the weak and the infirm
were the most frequent victims under the severest conditions.

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The refugee treck makes it's way through snow and ice and temperatures of around 30 degrees of frost

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Crossing over the frozen Kurisches Haff, they are attacked by Soviet fighter bombers

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New arrivals of refugees in the West are not welcome, the local populations have enough problems with acute shortages and accomodation.  The Allied zones forced  their accomodation wherever they could.

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Arrival at the estate of a befriended family in Bavaria

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The end of the road in the American Zone in Bavaria. They encounter Francois, the  former French prisoner of war, who is now in US officer uniform

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Happy end, but only for some.

 

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Part 2

 

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More detailed information and pictures added.

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Memorial of the expulsion in a cemetery in Chemnitz

 

 

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