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  • Originally it's a German TV production in three parts directed by Michael Lähn in 1987. The story is about the Ostprussian tailor family Steputat who like anybody else in their village (Jokehnen) believes much in what Hitler can do to protect them from the big eastern threat. In 1934 Karl and Martha Steputat had their newborn baby boy christened Hermann. That happens the very same day Germany's old Reichpresident Hindenburg dies.

    For some years the family is having a happy life in Jokehnen and Wolfshagen, even if there are both a mighty manor estate as well as Nazi collaborators in the neighborhood, making people implicated into disagreeable things.

    However, dark clouds begin to show up when war rumbling moves closer and closer towards the village. Soon illusions are completely crushed. Hitler portraits have to be removed from the walls. After a while the villagers must leave their homes. The Russians were back in Ostprussia! Elderly people recall the invading troops in 1914 - how they bombed and destroyed.

    Armin Mueller-Stahl is brilliant as Karl Steputat. Actually he was once born in Tilsit in northern Ostprussia.

    "JOKEHNEN" is a very thrilling drama, affecting to watch how people tragically are driven away from the land they were born in. Arno Surminski wrote the story. In real life it was he who was born in Jokehnen that particular day in 1934. And the real name of the village was actually Jaeglack (Jeglawki), situated by the old causeway right between the smaller towns of Drengfurt and Barten. When the World War II was over Jokehnen (near the Masurischer Lakes) became Polish, while the northern part including Hauptstadt Königsberg became a part of the Soviet Union. All surviving Ostprussians were forced to move west, thousands of them crowding aboard in freight train wagons. The film is brilliantly telling the story how these people were suffering with broken dreams, broken ideals, broken everything. And the fate of the Steputats was just one out of thousand others.
  • It has been many years since I first saw this series on Australia's SBS, and while I cannot recall much in the way of detail about the story, I do recall that it was surprisingly (and immensely) engaging and moving. I have been hoping it will be rebroadcast one day but so far, no luck.

    I am in any event an Armin Muehler Stahl fan (quite apart from him being a talented actor, for some reason he reminds me of a much loved uncle) but I also recall the entire cast being very sound and believable. I will continue to keep my fingers crossed for its re-appeance on the small screen.
  • gsylte7 March 2006
    My Mom was one of the people displaced from her homeland of Ostpreussen. She was born in Tilsit and her name was Inge Traute Konrad. I am very proud to be her daughter as she has taught me the history of her home. One thing I do have to mention though....I don't like History! She passed away on February 14th 2006, the day of Love! How appropriate! We love each other very much and I was fortunate to learn most of the real History of Germany in the 2nd World War. We purchased the whole movie through an Importer here in Calgary Alberta which enabled us to see it on our VCR. I believe we watched it at least twice...maybe even 3 times. I still have it now and will probably have another look at it when the pain has lessened. If you ever get the chance to view this film, I encourage you to watch! I wish that the youth of TODAY could see what this generation had to go through. There is a lesson to be learned! Sincerely, Gabriele Sylte (Weinhold)