The World War II television mini-series Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter (Our mothers, our fathers ) reached a record audience in Germany when it was broadcast in March of this year. Each of the three episodes was watched by an estimated seven million people, or some 10 percent of the adult population. The mini-series generated an almost unprecedented public discussion in Germany. Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter has now been distributed to the US and other countries under the name Generation War. The program was recently aired on Polish television as well.
We begin in Berlin, 1941: Five young people, just out of school, are hurled into the atrocities of the Second World War. Somewhat naively, they believe they will soon meet again. But four years must pass before they do. Those who survived are heavily scarred by the hell they have gone through.
The main characters include the brothers Wilhelm (Volker Bruch) and Friedhelm Winter (Tom Schilling), who come from a good home where they maintain Prussian military values. Viktor Goldstein (Ludwig Trepte) is the son of a Jewish tailor who proudly fought for Germany in the First World War and who considers the Star of David to be a “mistake”. Viktor is the partner of Greta (Katharina Schüttler) who admires the film star Marlene Dietrich and dreams of her own singing career while rinsing glasses in a pub. For Greta, the Third Reich does not really matter. Charlotte (Miriam Stein), however, is proud to serve Germany and volunteers as a nurse on the Eastern Front.