A documentary film by Eren Önsöz | 90 min | 2016 | D


Immediately after the Nazis came to power, around a third of professors lost their positions at German universities. What few people know: numerous intellectuals, Jews and anti-fascists, fled to the unknown country of exile Turkey. State founder Ataturk invited the Germans to participate in his ambitious university reform.

Filmmaker Eren Önsöz accompanied the last descendants of these professors to locations in Switzerland, Germany and Turkey. With the help of five protagonists who were born and raised in Turkey, she examines this forgotten chapter of German-Turkish history, the significance of which extends to our present day. The renowned Germans were significantly involved in the Europeanization of Turkey.

But what is left of the culture and knowledge transfer under Prime Minister Erdogan? Where today in Turkey Ataturk's reforms are being reversed and secular structures are being dissolved. Does this also apply to the efforts of the exiles? In the midst of the global refugee crisis, the documentary raises highly topical questions and illuminates the fate of Germany's academic elite in exile in Turkey: persecuted, courted and “haymatloz”.


Screenplay, Director: Eren Önsöz

Camera: Andreas Köhler

Sound: Alexander Czart, Aykut Koca und Constantin Bömers

Editing: Elisabeth Raßbach

In co-production with Mamoko Entertainment
Pre-production funded by: Filmstiftung NRW
Production funded by: Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and BKM

Festivals (Selection)

Festival Türkei-Deutschland Nürnberg
Filmkunstfest Schwerin
Sao Paulo International Film Festival
Istanbul International Film Festival