Schlesiens Wilder Westen

Society/Country & People, Germany 2002

"I can live better in a place whose history I know." In the prologue of the film, two men are looking at photos. The men are not yet old, the photos are clearly older than the two Poles. They are photos from a village in Lower Silesia, photos from a world that no longer exists, photos from Seifershau, Lower Silesia, now Kopaniec. That's where the two men live. The film explores the history of this place on the edge of the Giant Mountains through the memories of its past and present inhabitants, whose lives reflect the experience of millions of people. Between the past and the present lies the expulsion. The German inhabitants were expelled from the village in the summer of 1946. Since 1945, displaced persons from pre-war eastern Poland were settled here. In the first years after the end of the war this region in Poland was called "The Wild West". Since the mid-seventies, groups of visitors from Germany have repeatedly come by bus to Kopaniec, people on a visit to a "homeland that is no longer home". The film accompanies the group on arrival, at the homeland evening, on the paths through the village, during visits to the present inhabitants. "As children, when we were brave, we shouted after them: 'Hitler kaputt, Hitler kaputt,'" a young Polish woman recounts with a laugh. After the war, the old residents and the incoming new ones lived together in the same house for up to two years. "The Germans were harassed," says a Pole. And: "The war did all that". But memories also sound like this: "We ate and worked together". Everyday life in an exceptional time. At that time, not only displaced persons from the east, some of whom had previously been interned for years in Siberia, arrived in the area around Kopaniec. Families from the largely destroyed central Poland tried their luck, among them often former forced laborers. Polish soldiers who had been discharged from service were assigned new land here, and looters made the area unsafe. The film also tells about this. In the village, the old live with their stories, but the young also live here with the history of the village. They live their lives, today. And one of the younger ones came from Germany, the son of a woman who was one of the displaced people, and he is now building a house in Kopaniec: "First I learned Polish, because I didn't come here to turn back history," he says. His mother never wanted him to settle here. The village is the center of the film and the link between the former and present inhabitants. The Poles, like the Germans, hoped after their expulsion that they would be able to go home again. "You have to come to terms with it," says one Polish woman. "Silesia's Wild West" asks what home is: a place, a person, a feeling, a memory?
99 min
HD
Starting at 6
Audio language:
German
Subtitles:
EnglishGermanPolish

More information

Director:

Ute Badura

Original title:

Schlesiens Wilder Westen

Original language:

GermanPolish

Format:

1:1.78 HD, Color

Age rating:

Starting at 6

Audio language:

German

Audio description:

German

Subtitles:

EnglishGermanPolish

Subtitles (SDH):

German

Further links:

IMDb