Frisians in Peril

Frisians in Peril (German: Friesennot) is a 1935 German drama film directed by Peter Hagen and starring Friedrich Kayßler, Jessie Vihrog and Valéry Inkijinoff.[1] Made for Nazi propaganda purposes, it concerns a village of ethnic Frisians in Russia.

Frisians in Peril
Directed byPeter Hagen
Produced byAlfred Bittins
Hermann Schmidt
Written byWerner Kortwich
Starring Friedrich Kayßler
Jessie Vihrog
Valéry Inkijinoff
Music byWalter Gronostay
CinematographySepp Allgeier
Edited byWolfgang Becker
Release date
19 November 1935
Running time
97 minutes
CountryNazi Germany

The film's sets were designed by the art directors Robert A. Dietrich and Bernhard Schwidewski. Location shooting took place around Bispingen. It premiered at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo.

The film has also been known as Dorf im roten Sturm (Germany; reissue title) and Frisions [sic] in Distress (USA).


Soviet authorities are making life as difficult as possible for a village of Volga Germans, most of whose ancestors originated in the Frisian Islands, with taxes and other oppression.[2]

After Mette, a half-Russian, half-Frisian woman, becomes the girlfriend of Kommissar Tschernoff, the Frisians murder her and throw her body in a swamp.[3]

Open violence breaks out and all of the Red Army soldiers stationed nearby are killed by the villagers. They then set fire to their village and flee.[3]



Despite Nazi hostility to religion, a cynical piece of anti-Communist propaganda depicts the Communists as posting obscene anti-religious posters, and the Frisians as piously declaring that all authority comes from God.[4]

The portrayal of Kommissar Tschernoff does not conform to the heavy-handed depiction of Communists as brutal and murderous in such films as Flüchtlinge; he is truly and passionately in love with Mette, and only with her death does he unleash his soldiers.[3] A villager objects to the affair on the grounds that even though her mother was Russian, her father's Frisian blood "outweighs" foreign blood, and therefore she must not throw herself at a foreigner.[3] Her murder is presented as in accordance with the Nazi principle of "race defilement."[5]

Ban and reversal

After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, in 1939, the film was banned; in 1941, after the invasion of Russia, it was reissued under its new title.[6]


  1. "New York Times: Friesennot (1936)". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  2. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema, pp. 39-40 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  3. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema, p. 40 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  4. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p40-1 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  5. Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p. 384, ISBN 0-03-076435-1
  6. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 41 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
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