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Dead Silence

by Florian Aigner

In occupied Paris a female German Soldier gives birth to a child without anybody telling

about it. She gives the child up for adoption. But the father, a french officer, takes the

child in. Sixty years later the events are revealed.

When enemy armies retreat they do not only leave behind the

dead and the devastation. They also leave behind children.

Often these children are the result of rapes. But sometimes

they are the result of love, too. In most cases it’s the

men, the soldiers who leave these children behind. Even

today numberless children of the war don’t know who their

father is.

But there also were women in uniform, who left their

children behind. The documentary “Dead Silence” tells one

of these yet unheard stories. In the occupied Paris of 1944

a young woman, employed by the German army conceives a

child from a french officer. Renate Schodder gives birth to

her son Thomas. Right after the birth she gives him up for

adoption. Only her sister knows about the child. Nobody

else must know as the child’s father still is an enemy.

Life is more thrilling than fiction. The father of the

‘forbidden’ child takes the child in. In the post-war

confusion he fights the German youth welfare office to be

able to keep his son. In elaborate letters to Renate he

tries to win back her love. He wants to live with her and

asks her repeatedly to live with him in Paris. In 1947

however Renate marries a German. Her illegitimate son is

raised by his french father. Finally the parents cut all

ties between them.

On September 7th, 1996 Renate dies. Two hours after the

death of his beloved mother her son Dietrich Frey finds the

letters and documents that reveal the events that had taken

place almost 50 years before. From this moment on he is not

an only child anymore. And the image of his mother has

changed. It takes almost ten years for Dieter to process

these news and to start the search for his french half-

brother. After searching for quite a while he finally

receives a response saying: „Cher Dietrich, je suis bien le

demi-frère que tu recherches!“ (Dear Dietrich, I surely am

the half-brother you’ve been looking for!).

From the viewpoints of the still living persons involved

this film tells the story of Renate and her two sons:

Thomas, who never got to know his biological mother. And

Dieter, who has to find a new image of his mother. And

after over 60 years the familys are re-united. The French

and the German brothers finally meet.




Deutsche Film- und

Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb)





SOUND MIXER Manfred Stahl

LINE PRODUCER Martina Knapheide

© dffb Florian Aigner, 2007

Funded by Kulturelle Filmförderung


und Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Broadcasted on 3sat