Background information

This documentary is the result of long term research with Ukrainian and Polish historians. Despite great difficulties we found 1000 pages from former KGB files about our protagonists. Questions about the ‘double persecution' in the Nazi era and the stigmatisation of returnees as 'Ostarbeiter’ under Stalinism, are given the same weight as the search for understanding their effort to deal with and integrate their trauma from those times. The film intends to respond to this material in the form of a portrait of the pioneer Willi Waibel, as well as interviewing some of the last living protagonists in a European odyssey of forced deportation. The prize winning cameraman Oleksandr Techynskyi has restored something of their dignity to these old Ukrainians through the composition of his images. The laconic music is from the Ukrainian Yuriy Gurzhy, who didn’t only become world famous making ‚Russendisko’ with Wladimir Kaminer, but is also an expert in Eastern European music.

Archive materials, among others from KGB archives on Nazi forced laborers.

The film shows a piece of interconnected European history from a time when Europe was marked by WWII and ist consequences. It reflects the different perspectives that the film’s participants in these countries have on their shared history. Moreover, as new populist movements have for some time already been calling for an end to this critical way of looking at history, this chapter remains hard to close. Indeed, for Willi Waibel the struggle of working on this subject goes on. For the first time, in this film, official representatives of Nestle (now the owners of Maggi) face questions on camera, albeit still unwilling to face up to the past.

Further information and specialist literature are available in German.

Wilhelm Waibel im Archiv der Georg Fischer AG
Wilhelm Waibel in the archives of Georg Fischer AG.