The novel "The Defector" is about the great questions of conscience of mankind, duty and attitude, guilt and atonement. The story of the Wehrmacht soldier who defects to the Soviets, however, seemed difficult for the publisher to convey in 1951.

The Turncoat

The novel "The Defector" is about the great questions of conscience of mankind, about duty and attitude, guilt and atonement. The story of the Wehrmacht soldier who defects to the Soviets, however, seemed difficult for the publisher to convey in 1951, in the ideological times of the Cold War. The publication was rejected. It was not until 2016, after Lenz's death, that the publisher brought out the forgotten book, and it became a bestseller. The two-part film adaptation recounts the experiences of soldier Walter Proska in the last summer of the war and his later attempt to build a new Germany in the Soviet occupation zone. All this under the influence of an impossible and, precisely for that reason, touching love between two young people. As is so often the case with Lenz, who chose to live in Hamburg, the plot revolves around characters who cannot live in peace with the past, who seek reconciliation and understanding. It was important to Lenz to tell of a peace in which there is also a place for strife: "Unreconciled, we give to the past what we owe it, and to the present what makes it acceptable," he once said. "The Defector" has been realized by Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger, producer Stefan Raiser and the participating editors from NDR, ARD, Degeto, and Südwestrundfunk, in a touching, visually powerful and exciting way.

Release Date:

2020