Meeting of Spies - a project, that the German Federal Intelligence Service BND has called a ‘world rarity’. For the first time ever, three former GDR citizens who worked as western spies in East Germany meet and speak about their dangerous work during Cold War. Norbert (66), Raimund (83) and Eberhard (77) worked for the CIA and the BND between 1952 and 1989.
Disguised as cooks, forest workers and mechanics, these three men collected secret information about military and political developments in the GDR. With sophisticated spy technology and with high stakes they shared their key intelligence with their western counterparts. They met political leaders like Erich Honecker, Mikhail Gorbachev and even the early Vladimir Putin.
The era of spies during the cold war is a topic of numerous novels and movies, from John le Carré’s ‘The Spy who came in from the cold’ to Ian Fleming’s ‘James Bond’. But surprisingly only little is known about the real spies that risked their lives between the military front lines around the former Iron Curtain. Most of them are either dead or simply undetectable as members of secret services usually take their secrets to their graves. For »Meeting of spies« Anke Ertner has managed not only to find three of them - still alive - but also to tell their story in front of a camera. During the documentary, these three men, who spied in different times and places actually meet for the very first time.
All three men are captured, tortured and imprisoned for years, while their mothers, wives and other family members suffer from their undercover operations in the name of the ‘imperialist enemies’. The film dives deep into the personal motivations and dramatic lives of three unusal personalities, it sheds a completely new light on a crucial period of German history. The film tells a previously untold story about the Cold War, through the eyes of three former secret agents.
Anke Ertner was born in 1975 in Großenhain near Dresden. She grew up in Strausberg near Berlin - in the GDR the most important location for the national people’s army (“NVA”), where her father worked as an officer and her mother as a teacher. After studying business administration in Frankfurt/Oder, she started as a radio and TV journalist and worked as an author for international production companies.
»Meeting of Spies« is the second documentary by Anke Ertner, which she developed and produced with her production company ErtnerArts. In her film Anke Ertner not only highlights a new facet of the Cold War in Germany; above all, she manages to get three former secret service spies from different decades to talk - in front of a camera.
Anke Ertner has established herself in recent years as a research expert for historic topics around the German division. Most recently, she assisted British espionage writer John le Carré to research his latest novel, A legacy of spies. The investigative work in various archives and discussions with experts brought exciting, previously unknown knowledge and inspired Anke Ertner to her new film project. Currently, she also supports a British film production company in the preparation of a TV series, which is also dedicated to the West espionage in the GDR during the Cold War.
In her first feature film documentary, »Generation'89«, Anke Ertner faced a special challenge: she told the very personal story of her friends, her family and last but not least her own. The documentary film was very successful at numerous film festivals (New York, London, Malmö, Berlin, Neißefilmfestival), in cinema as well as several times in German public broadcast (MDR/ARD). The film was also awarded with the attribute »particularly valuable«. The production of the DVD was fully financed with crowdfunding by several hundred supporters from East and West Germany. »Generation'89« is still regularly performed publicly today.
Protoganists: Eberhard Fätkenheuer, Raimund August, Norbert Grohmer
Carin Grohmer, Marie-Luise August, Monti, Franz-M. Günther (Gründer und Kurator Deutsches Spionage Museum, Berlin), Dr. Christopher Nehring (Leiter Forschung Deutsches Spionage Museum, Berlin), Christian Dellit (BStU), Konstantin Neumann (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen), Jessica Steckel (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen), Bodo Hechelhammer (BND)
Editorial Research: Natascha Gillenberg
Scientific Advisor: Dr. Christopher Nehring
Cinematographer: Robert Cöllen
Sound: Mario Krauß, Sascha Czycykowski
Graphic design: Jan Tautenhahn
Editing: Mathias Schwarz
Music: Ralf Bremer
Music Mastering: Oliver Fabel, Audio Mastering Service
Sounddesign & Mix: Kai Hoffmann, wave-line
Color Grading: Moritz Ripprich, WALKING ON THE MOON
Set Photography: Lars Hübner
Director: Anke Ertner
Head of production: Corinna Volkmann
Executive Producer: Anke Ertner, ErtnerArts
For the exceptional support of our film project a special thanks to:
Franz-M. Günther and Dr. Christopher Nehring (Deutsches Spionage Museum, Berlin)
Christian Dellit, Christian Schwack und Sabine Messow (BStU)
Konstantin Neumann, Jessica Steckel, Michael Ginsburg and André Kockisch (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen)
Sylvia Wähling (Gedenkstätte Zuchthaus Cottbus)
Elke Buß and Ina Grätz (Villa Schöningen, Potsdam)
Café Zanotto (Villa Schöningen, Potsdam)
Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Hotel & Restaurant Diana, Berlin
Stadt Bad Kissingen
Betty and Bernd Lammel
Sonia Khan and Jan Kottmann
Paul Tautenhahn, Anja Tautenhahn, Claudia Wendt, Janina Hüttenrauch, Kai Dahlke, Andreas Hilbert, Anja Hoffmann, Michael Leipold, Yvonne Mast, Stephanie Mendes Candido, Steffen and Julia Müller, Karla and Siegfried Müller, Ralf Bremer
This film project was created with the help of crowdfunding.
Many thanks to all anonymous and open supporters and donors
from around the world, like:
Claudia Wendt, Kay Oberbeck, Jan Zimmermann, Thomas Falk, Christoph Gabler, Sylvia Wulf, Thomas Schildhauer, Michael und Hannah Ginsburg, Jan Beddies, Yvonne Mast, Tom Kurth, Wieland Holfelder, Jeannette Dietrich, Ulla Ziemann, Uli Hannemann, Marina Böddeker, Rene Schädel, Philipp Otto, Paul Tautenhahn, Leo Tautenhahn, Anja Tautenhahn, Helene Hartmann, Shane Whaley (Spybrary Podcast), Antje Schmieder, Peggy Schliebs, Till Kreutzer, Ingrid und Norbert Ertner, Christian Ertner, Anja Martin, Alexander Ertner, Dirk Ertner, Isa Sonnenfeld, Sonia Khan, Jan Kottmann, Mario Sixtus, Georg Nolte, Stephanie Mendes Candido, Silke Bues, Almuth Klatt, Tim Chatwin, Arnd Haller, Elijah Lawal, Mark Jansen, Samira Lazarovic, Marco Öhme, Wolfgang Schwarz, Andreas Hilbert, Thea O´Hear, Christian Schön, Sonja Radde, Peggy Schliebs, Oliver Brinkmann, Christian Jakubetz, Annette Kroeber-Riel, Lutz Heidelberg, Gabriela Kufner, Judith Leeb, Natascha Gillenberg, Julia and Steffen Müller, Siegfried and Karla Müller, Ralf Bremer
The DVD is now available.
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