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Today's quote:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So weit die Füße tragen

As far as my feet will carry me

As prisoner of war, Clemens Forell, a German soldier during WW II, was sentenced to 25 years in a labour camp in far east Siberia. After four years working in the mines he escapes from the camp (in 1949) and tries to get home to his wife and children. For three years he journeys through Siberia. An odyssey of 14,000 kilometers, set against a backdrop of desolate and inhospitable landscape, beset by danger (from both animals and humans). Constantly battling the worst nature can throw at him, Forell makes his way, step by step, towards Persia and the longed-for freedom. Sometimes riding on trains, sometimes by boat, mostly on foot, he never knows if his next step won't be his last. His prosecutor Kamenev is always right behind him, and more than once it seems that Forell is captured again...

This film, first made as a TV-series in black-and-white in six parts of altogether 400 minutes in 1959, and remade in 2001 as a feature film in color in both the German and Russian language, is based on the book by Josef Martin Bauer which has been translated into fifteen languages. It is the true story of the German officer Cornelius Rost (1922-1983) who in 1949 escaped from the Siberian Gulag and for three years travelled 14,000 km, mainly on foot, to present-day Iran. After his return to Germany, Rost lived for the next 30 years in constant fear of being re-arrested by the KGB and died a broken man.

And yet, he was lucky to have come back at all! Of the 3.5 million German prisoners-of-war in the Soviet Union, the vast majority perished in the forced labour camps.