FLIGHT AND BORDERS — IN THE PHOTO ARCHIVE
Thursday, January 9, 2014, 7 p.m.
D: Frédéric Gonseth, Thomas Gull, Marc-Antoine Schüpfer, CH 2004, 15 min
„Nazis in der Schweiz“
D: Edwin Beeler, CH 2004, 15 min
D: Fernand Melgar, CH 2004, 15 min
Three short films from the “Regards en arrière / Blick zurück” series put together by filmmakers from the Rhaeto-Romanic and German regions of Switzerland open up discussion of controversial aspects of Swiss history. Used for this is material created in the context of the oral history project “Archimob.” Halt! Grenze! counters the image of Switzerland that the 1945 film Die letzte Chance intended to disseminate: that of a safe haven for Jewish refugees during World War II. Despite its documentary complexion, this feature film was far from the historical reality. In Halt! Grenze!, on the contrary, contemporary witnesses from western Switzerland, Grisons, and Ticino describe the actual situation at the border, which is far less flattering for the Swiss image. In the 1930s, the so-called Frontisten wanted to implement national-socialist objectives in Switzerland, do away with democracy, and introduce a corporatist, authoritarian, anti-communist, and anti-Semitic state. Two of their leaders, Rolf Henne and Georges Oltramare, organized a feigned national strike in Bern in 1937. Nazis in der Schweiz documents this less-known history. Finally, J gives the word to the doyen of Swiss historians, Edgar Bonjour: in 1970 he felt that an entire generation had failed and is ultimately responsible for the inhuman aspects of Swiss asylum policies. Egoism in the hearts of citizens and latent anti-Semitism led to people simply closing their eyes to the situation. In the end, it refers to the results of the Bergier report and inquires into the official Swiss attitude toward Jewish people.