• 20 / 10 / 2011
  • 6-9pm
  • Cultural centre REX, Jevrejska 16, Belgrade

Film screening and talk

My Father was a Murderer - daughter of the Gestapo chief of Belgrade talks about her investigations

Photos: Nikola Radić Lucati

Premiere of the film The Good Father - A Daughter’s Indictment by Yoash Tatari + public talk with Beate Niemann, daughter of the head of the Gestapo in Belgrade, who will share her experiences during the investigation about her father’s crimes.

Moderation: Rena Rädle

Beate Niemann came to Belgrade for the first time in 2001, searching for the truth about the past of her father, Bruno Sattler, head of the Gestapo in Belgrade, directly responsible for the murdering of Jewish women and children in the Staro Sajmište concentration camp.

Her year-long investigation of her father's crimes was documented by Yoash Tatari in the film The Good Father - A Daughter’s Indictment. Serbian premiere will be on Thursday, 20th of October, 2011 at the Cultural Centre REX. After the screening, Beate Niemann will talk about the process that she went through during her investigation and answer the questions of the audience.

For decades, Beate Niemann’s family believed that their father was not guilty, that he was an innocent man imprisoned in the German Democratic Republic. Sattler’s fellow war criminals, including his boss, Emanuel Schäfer, head of Gestapo of the occupied Serbia, spent a short time behind bars in the Federal Republic of Germany (Schäfer was incarcerated for three years). As they had been released quickly in West Germany, Sattler was believed to have been “an innocent victim of an unjust communist court in GDR” that sentenced him to life in prison for his crimes in Yugoslavia and the USSR.

In the beginning of her inquiry, launched with the aim of posthumously rehabilitating her father, Beate Niemann submitted a request, immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to be granted access to the documents in the care of Gauck-Behörde (the institution responsible for preservation of the archives of the GDR state security service). But the discovery of the horrible crimes committed by her father in the USSR, Yugoslavia and elsewhere came as a shock to her. She decided to reveal the story of her father to the public and started searching for the documents about his crimes, which brought her to Belgrade.

At the site of the former concentration camp, she met with Ljiljana Đorđević, who was an inmate in the camp as a child and survived Sajmište. She shared with Beate Niemann her memories of people being taken to gas vans called “dušegupka”. This documentary introduces the viewers to a woman who is ready to reveal her father’s dark past in an uncompromising way and shows that her attitude has not always met with approval.

About the film:

The Good Father - A Daughter’s Indictment

Production Year: 2003, 88 minutes
Languages: German/Serbian with English and Serbian subtitles
Director and author: Yoash Tatari
Camera: Thomas Giefer, Florian Giefer, Pavel Schnabel, Stefan Thiessen, Michael Schehl, Miša Milošević
Sound: Mario Köhler, Oliver Klein, Milan Stojanović
Editing: Yoash Tatari
Production: Tatari Production for Westdeutscher Rundfunk
The film won the Gold World Award at New York Festivals in the category International TV Programs and Films

The film is subtitled in English and Serbian and the discussion with Beate Niemann will be conducted in Serbian and German with the help of an interpreter. The event is part of the project A Visit To Staro Sajmište - Criteria and Standards of Remembrance realized by Cultural Centre REX.

Additional information available on the website: www.starosajmiste.info.

Realized with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and Goethe Institut Belgrade.