The members of the 20 July plot are being worshipped as heroes today who sacrificed their lives for the German resistance against Hitler. The violent death of their fathers was a disaster for their children – a disaster whose consequences they still have to cope with up to this day. In his film “A traitor's child” Christian Weisenborn is showing shocking encounters with the children of the members of the 20 July plot.
Axel Smend can still feel the pain when remembering the day his mother came home from a parent-teacher conference with a tear-stained face. His teacher had told the mother about Axel's bad grades in Latin and had added that he couldn't expect anything else from a traitor's son. The father, Günther Smend, had been executed in 1944.
But Christian Weisenborn is also looking at his own family history. His parents were part of a huge circle of antifascist friends the Gestapo called the “Red Orchestra”. They were artists, blue-collar workers, Communists, aristocrats, doctors and officers. Men and women. As early as 1942, they distributed pamphlets talking about the genocide of European Jews and tried to reach out to the Soviets and the Americans. Weisenborn's parents survived, but 52 of their friends were executed in the prison of Berlin-Plötzensee in 1942/1943. Weisenborn also conducted interviews with their daughters and sons.
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