Refugees (1933 film)

Refugees (German: Flüchtlinge) is a 1933 German drama film directed by Gustav Ucicky and starring Hans Albers, Käthe von Nagy and Eugen Klöpfer. It depicts Volga German refugees persecuted by the Bolsheviks on the Sino-Russian border in Manchuria in 1928.[1]

Directed byGustav Ucicky
Produced byGünther Stapenhorst
Written byGerhard Menzel
StarringHans Albers
Käthe von Nagy
Eugen Klöpfer
Music byErnst Erich Buder
Herbert Windt
CinematographyFritz Arno Wagner
Edited byEduard von Borsody
Distributed byUFA
Release date
14 October 1933
Running time
87 minutes

The screenplay was written by Gerhard Menzel and was based on his own novel of the same title.[2] It was shot at the Babelsberg Studios with sets designed by the art directors Robert Herlth and Walter Röhrig.[3]

It was the first movie to win the state prize, and Goebbels praised it as among those films that, while they did not explicitly cite National Socialist principles, nevertheless embodied its spirit,[1] a new film reflecting the ideal of their national revolution.[2]

The refugees are rescued by a heroic German leader much like the Führer; the symbolism is obviously intended to emulate Adolf Hitler although its hero, being blond and athletic, represented the physical ideal much more clearly.[4] He is disgusted by "November Germany", and devotes himself to the ideal of "true Germany".[5] He off-handedly disposes of some refugees as worthless, and demands complete obedience from all others.[6] The death of a boy deeply devoted to him moves him, as dying for a cause is something he would wish for himself, in keeping with Nazi glorification of heroic death.[6]

Their Communist persecutors are portrayed simply as brutal murderers, typical of works prior to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (and again after its breach).[7] The film was shown for some time after the pact, owing to bureaucratic oversight, complicating the efforts of Nazi propaganda.[8]



  1. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 29 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  2. Cinzia Romani, Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich p. 150 ISBN 0-9627613-1-1
  3. Giesen p.194
  4. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 29-30 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  5. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 29 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  6. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 30 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  7. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p. 40 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  8. Jay W. Baird, The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda, p. 147 ISBN 0-8166-0741-9


  • Giesen, Rolf. Nazi Propaganda Films: A History and Filmography. McFarland, 2003.
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