German, Ukrainian, Polish
German, English, Ukrainian, Polish
DCP 2k, Blu-ray
16:9 (1,78:1), Color
Even the pear tree, where the young Polish worker was hanged, was cut down. That’s what the people in the village said.
When forced labour under the Nazis was still determinedly ignored, Willi Waibel happened upon a case in the basement of a firm he was working for. It held personal files of forced labourers and their criminal exploitation which is downplayed even today. With no formal training as a historian, Waibel took it upon himself to investigate further. He knocked on the doors of different businesses, asked questions and wrote letters to those who the Nazis had once deported to Germany and who were then on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Eventually, he received an answer and, thereafter, formal permission to travel. In the former Soviet Union and in Poland, he met people whose destinies were shattered by the ideologies of the 20th century. Some of the many that had experienced the horror of both the Stalinist and Nazi eras.
His encounter with them is the story of a reconciliation which leads us back to contemporary Germany. The Maggi business, once ‘as brown as its spices’ and beneficiary of the forced labour system, is now owned by Nestle. How does the company handle responsibilities from its past? Why is it so difficult to admit them? Are the past and the present closer than they seem?