Freundschaft! - The Free German Youth Movement


Documentary film, 90 min.

Production: HMR Produktion for NDR/WDR/RBB, funded by Filmstiftung NRW



Lutz Hachmeister / Mathias von der Heide

Director of Photography:

Hajo Schomerus


Knut Weinrich (NDR), Christian Hinz (WDR), Jens Stubenrauch (RBB)


Guido Krajewski

Sound Mix:

Christian Wilmes


Ufuk Genc, Janosch Benz


Premiere: June 22, 2008, at the Filmfest München

First broadcast: July 28, 2009, ARD

Rerun: April 19, 2012, RBB


Winner of the German Television Award as Best Documentary 2009







Freundschaft! The Free German Youth Movement shows the coming of age of a now-failed nation, the German Democratic Republic, through the eyes of its expansive youth group, the Free German Youth (FDJ). Once a substitute family for German post-war children, the FDJ was crafted into a tool of indoctrination for the nation’s Communist ruling party, the SED. Forgoing narration, the film relies on interviews with three generations of FDJ members to tell the history, evolution and demise of this political scout group. Current German parliamentarians, rock stars and journalists recall their joy of first slipping into the club’s blue uniform, the mind-numbing drill of FDJ summer camps and the ultimate disappointment at discovering they had become little more than a tool of the Politburo.





Press responses


It's a great film the authors Lutz Hachmeister and Mathias von der Heide are delivering. Painstakingly researched, conclusively documented and told in perfect dramaturgy.

(Focus, July 29, 2009)