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Ernst Thälmann - Sohn seiner Klasse (1954)

This historical-biographical film begins in the first days of November 1918 on the western front. News comes to the soldiers of a revolutionary uprising in Kiel. Young Thälmann, a soldier ... See full summary »


Kurt Maetzig
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Günther Simon Günther Simon ... Ernst Thälmann
Hans-Peter Minetti Hans-Peter Minetti ... Fiete Jansen
Erich Franz Erich Franz ... Arthur Vierbreiter
Erika Dunkelmann Erika Dunkelmann ... Martha Vierbreiter
Raimund Schelcher Raimund Schelcher ... Krischan Daik
Karla Runkehl Karla Runkehl ... Änne Harms
Gerhard Bienert ... Otto Kramer
Walter E. Fuß Walter E. Fuß ... Karl Borns
Oswald Foerderer Oswald Foerderer ... Martin Bünse
Steffie Spira Steffie Spira ... Clara Zetkin
Robert Trösch Robert Trösch ... Kuddel Riemöller
Gerhard Lau Gerhard Lau ... Hein Heber
Lotte Loebinger Lotte Loebinger ... Emma Kramer
Wilfried Ortmann Wilfried Ortmann ... Hannes Harms
Karl Kendzia Karl Kendzia ... Adolf Wahlkeit


This historical-biographical film begins in the first days of November 1918 on the western front. News comes to the soldiers of a revolutionary uprising in Kiel. Young Thälmann, a soldier against his will, would like to join the expanding conflict on the side of his comrades in Hamburg. As the revolution becomes threatened by the betrayal of the right-wing Social Democrats and the splintering of the working class, he nevertheless tries unremittingly to unite the workers. The reactionaries grow ever stronger and the neediness of ordinary people multiplies. In this dire situation, the Hamburg police commissioner would like to block the unloading of a ship full of provisions that were sent from Petrograd as a message of solidarity. But Thälmann prevails in unloading it. The high point and conclusion of the first part of the Thälmann films is established at the Hamburg Uprising in October 1923. Written by DEFA Film Library

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Biography | Drama | War




East Germany



Release Date:

12 March 1954 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernst Thälmann - I. rész See more »

Filming Locations:

Dresden, Saxony, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in East Side Story (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Thälmann - Founding Father of German Communism
6 August 2010 | by eabakkumSee all my reviews

This film can only be appreciated if one knows its background. It was made in this curious country the GDR, and Ernst Thälmann was the leader of the German communist party before the Second World War. In fact, Thälmann was seen by the GDR-elite as something of a founding father, perhaps in the same way as the Americans admire Washington or Lincoln. Just like the carving of the first American presidents in rock, so one finds megalomaniac statues of Thälmann in the former GDR. This was of course a bit much for the common people, but the film had a relative success (perhaps also because bus loads of school children and personnel clubs were driven for free to the cinemas - try that with YOUR boss!). Somehow the people in the GDR saw that the roots of communism lie in humanism. Even now most people in the former GDR think of their past as indeed living in a dictatorship, but not in a wrong state. Just look at for instance the realistic, touching and much loved film "Paul und Paula". In addition it should be kept in mind, that Thälmann was active in the same political organization as the much mourned Rosa Luxemburg. On the other hand he was also associated with Walter Ulbricht, who started his career in the GDR as a Stalinist. Thälmann had already been put in a Nazi jail by the time that the cruelties of Stalin reached their climax. The film "Ernst Thälmann" portrays (in 2 DVDs!) his life and death, in a realistic way, but with extreme willingness. Political films are commonly biased, in both east and west, and the communist system has always been to weak to endure criticism from within. The story is therefore a straigthforward historic epic poem, in which the actors do a good job. It is all realism, you get what you see, and there are no hidden meanings, false bottoms or other "bourgeois" deceptions. There is nothing wrong with that. Of course the film can not conceal the violent nature of the communist party, and her destabilizing effect on the Republic of Weimar. In fact it does not even try, since the bringing about of the revolution and the fall of capitalism is the ultimate goal of Leninism, and thus seen as a virtue. The viewer should also bear in mind that in the roaring twenties the Comintern had already become an instrument for the protection of Soviet interests. The revolutionary climate died around 1920. Whereas the proletarian resistance against the fascist Kapp Putsch (1920) was justified and successful, this was not longer the case for the ensuing Ruhr uprising by the communists in 1921. By that time the socialdemocrats and the trade unions had already abandoned the armed resistance against the German military. The Ruhr uprising (against the disarmament of the workers) was without chance, and ordered by the Comintern (with the Soviet president Lenin behind it as driving force) mainly to weaken the German neighbour. The script has no room for such criticism or even doubts. If Thälmann has ever made a mistake, it is certainly not visible in this movie. For some strange reason, the personal glorification of the leaders has always been typical in communist countries. They were probably supposed to represent the human goodness, and be the ultimate example for the common people. With Thälmann this turned out to be especially easy, after his eventual murder by the Hitler fascists. If one is able to feel empathy, and to accept the rather unusual ideological perspective, then the viewer is rewarded with a nice impression of the Republic of Weimar, and the rise and establishment of Nazism.

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