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ZDF, ZDF Enterprises and TVP1 produce documentary film “World War II” (2 x 45’)

Mainz and Warsaw, 27th August 2014.

ZDF, ZDF Enterprises and the Polish broadcaster TVP1 have jointly produced a two-part documentary on the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in an endeavor to examine and assess this painful chapter of history together.

The most horrible war in world history began 75 years ago with the attack of Hitler Germany on Poland and Germany’s declaration of Poland as the enemy. The aim was to destroy not only the military power of Germany’s neighbor, but also the livelihood of its people. There are a great many studies, books and films, both in Poland and in Germany, on the reasons for this, as well as on the events themselves and their consequences. Yet steps taken together to come to terms with this and keep its memory alive over and beyond the trenches of history, have been all too rare. ZDF and TVP1 want to take such joint steps with a documentary that is to evoke the beginning of the Second World War.

The production “World War II” was made in close cooperation with international experts such as Prof. Richard Overy, Prof. Paweł Machcewicz and Dr. Jochen Böhler. It places the fates of victims and  perpetrators in the forefront, relates previously unknown stories concerning the events of 1 September 1939 and offers impressive interview partners. A selection of German and Polish contemporary witnesses communicate in heart-stopping statements what the elementary rupture the autumn of 1939 meant for their entire lives. The acclaimed film director Roman Polanski, for example, reports about how he experienced the beginning of the persecution of the Jews in occupied Poland as a child from 1940 to 1943 in the Jewish ghetto of Cracow, which had been built by the German occupational forces. The recollections are illustrated by a wealth of newly accessible amateur films as well as by meticulously staged dramatic reconstructions, documentary recordings and photos.

The parallel airing of the German-Polish coproduction will take place on 2 and 9 September on TVP1 and ZDF. Part 1 relates the background and the acts of war committed around 1 September 1939; Part 2 describes how the Polish population became one of the great victims of this war.

ZDF Enterprises is responsible for the international distribution of this ZDF production (authors Peter Hartl and Christian Frey, Production / Scene by Andrzej Klamt, Halbtotal Filmproduktion).


About ZDF Enterprises
ZDF Enterprises was founded in 1993 as a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest and most renowned TV broadcasters in Europe. Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, ZDF Enterprises is responsible for the worldwide sale of programs, the making of international coproductions, the acquisition of licenses as well as the merchandising of strong program brands in its own name, for the ZDF, and for third parties. ZDF Enterprises has successfully established itself as an independent market player on the German and international stage. Bound into a strong group, the company manages the largest German-language stock of programs in the world and, next to this, a continuously growing portfolio of international productions consisting of series and miniseries, TV movies, documentaries and children’s programs. In the course of the development and diversification process carried out up to now, many business fields in the television and media domains were made accessible in the ZDF Enterprises group. Thus ZDF Enterprises can provide a comprehensive, full-service offering today, and covers every step in the chain of origin and exploitation of successful TV programs, from development to production and up to the marketing of TV licenses, merchandising rights, online rights and much more.

Contact ZDF Enterprises
Christine Denilauler (Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, D-55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, Fax: +49 6131-9912130, e-mail:,


Christine Denilauler

Christine Denilauler

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications

+49 (0) 6131 / 991–1130
+49 (0) 6131 / 991–2130
ZDF Enterprises GmbH
Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1
55127 Mainz | Germany