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Hostages of the SS Journey into the Unknown (eps. 1)

The wave of arrests following the botched attempt on Hitler’s life on July, 20, 1944 also includes the family members of the conspirators. In October 1944 Fey von Hassell Pirzio-Biroli, the daughter of Ulrich von Hassell, diplomat and designated foreign minister in the planned transitional government, is arrested. Members of the Goerdeler, Stauffenberg, and many other prominent German families suffer the same fate. These so-called "prisoners of kin" are interned in various concentration camps, uncertain as to what will become of their family members as well as themselves.

At the end of April 1945 in the last days of the war the SS gathers their most valuable prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp. These include Kurt von Schuschnigg, the last Austrian chancellor, and the internationally respected Hitler-opponent Reverend Martin Niemöller but also prisoners of war like Lieutenant "Jimmy" James, Royal Air Force pilot, with 13 escape attempts. The allied forces have cut off the road to Berlin. The only path remaining for the SS is to the south into the so-called "alpine redoubt“. In the charge of SS Obersturmführer Stiller and with hastily requisitioned busses the prisoners are transported to the Reichenau camp near Innsbruck on April 26, 1945. The plan of the SS remains unclear to the prisoners. The uncertainty whether they are to serve as the SS security in the imminent capitulation or whether they are to be liquidated far from the front becomes increasingly unbearable.... As the convoy progresses through the snow-capped Alps the prisoners are faced with the fateful decision: flee or trust in an uncertain rescue.

 

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Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion in co-production with ZDF, Arte, RAI and ORF - Österreichischer Rundfunk
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