The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
original title The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert
production country German Democratic Republic
original language German
Publishing year 1972
length 102 minutes
age rating FSK 12
directing Joachim Kunert
script Joachim Kunert
Hans Muncheberg
production DEFA for GDR television
music Gerhard Wohlgemuth
camera Wolfgang Pietsch
cut Christa Helwig

The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert is a German literary adaptation by Joachim Kunert from 1972. It is based on the story of the same name by Anna Seghers , included in the collection The Power of the Weak . The title role is occupied by Helga Göring , supporting roles by Holm Henning Freier , Günter Naumann , Helmut Gauss and Günter Wolf .

The film was produced by DEFA on behalf of GDR television .


Ernst Schweigert had to leave his mother Agathe and Nazi Germany for Paris overnight because he had taken part in a protest. After his trail is lost, Agathe goes in search of her son. To raise money for her venture, she sells her haberdashery and travels west by train. The woman, who is well-known and respected locally, is immediately recognized and spoken to by the conductor. She gets a little scared at the customs check, but everything goes well.

Arriving in Paris, Agathe takes in the city and its sights. After all, she has never made such a long journey in her life and has always just stood behind the counter of her shop. After she found the address from which her son's last letter came, she found out that Ernst had traveled on a long time ago. Luckily, Ernst finds a friend who tells her that her son is fighting the fascists in Spain . Agathe wants to follow him - if necessary to the front. First she goes to Toulouse and is amazed that her son also has friends here. Only now does she realize that Ernst has been a member of the International Brigade for a long time . Traveling from France to Spain proves to be a problem because they don't want to issue Agathe with the appropriate papers. Only when she agrees to take a job in Spain does there seem to be a solution. However, you now have to wait and see, but in the end everything goes faster than expected and your application is approved. So the journey continues by train across the Pyrenees and then on foot to the border. There, Agathe and the men accompanying her are welcomed as fighters for the freedom of Spain and taken to the next town. Here Agathe hopes to finally find her son, but she has to learn that he is still fighting at the front and that she cannot visit him there.

Agathe gets to know many different people on her way, but everyone is friendly to her and they all speak a little German . The simple woman tries to understand what drives people of all nationalities to come here to Spain to fight against the fascists. Agathe drives to Valencia with a young Pole and sees the sea for the first time. There is also a large hospital here, where Ernst is said to be staying. But she comes too late because her son had to go back to the front two days ago. So Agathe has no choice but to wait in the hospital and work there until Ernesto comes back here, as he had announced. Since there is a lot to do, she doesn't have much time: laundry has to be folded, the beds have to be made, food has to be distributed and there are other tasks that Agathe is responsible for taking care of. But soon a letter comes that Ernst has to stay at the front. However, it turns out that a wounded man has to be taken to a special clinic, and since this is in the city where Ernesto is currently stationed, Agathe is supposed to accompany the sick man on the transport. Once there, however, she has to learn that her son will not come because the battalion had to move on. Disappointed, Agathe wanders through the streets of the city and ends up being taken back to the hospital by a transport. Here she receives the devastating news of her son's death. Only work can take her mind off her pain a little now. She tirelessly takes care of the sick and injured. She accidentally discovers Reinhold, one of her son's former schoolmates, who tells her about him and the last days of his life.

After the hospital has to be evacuated, Agathe flees on foot with a group of civilians to France. She makes her way to a small mountain farm. Agathe can find refuge there, but after days of rest she moves on to an internment camp where, according to a message, Reinhold is said to be interned. The guards mistake Agathe for Reinhold's mother, which helps her to be let in with him. Now that she has no one left, she wants to stay close to Reinhold and intends to go with the internees when they go out into the world to seek asylum .

Background and Publication

The character of Agatha Schweigert was optically adapted to the template described by Anna Seghers .

The film ends in France, where Agatha Schweigert visits Robert, her son's friend, in the detention center. In the novel, fleeing from the Germans, she ends up in the Antilles . There she met Anna Seghers in the spring of 1941.

The film was first broadcast on November 12, 1972 on the 1st channel of East German television . In Hungary the film was released under the title Agatha asszony nagy utazása on September 20, 1973, in Poland it was released on October 25, 1976.

The film was released on DVD on November 7, 2011 as part of the "DDR TV-Archiv" series, published by Telepool (Edel) and Icestorm Distribution GmbH.

The film was broadcast comparatively often because it was part of the curriculum at East German schools.


“A woman who is no longer quite young gives up her haberdashery shop and thus her secure existence to follow her son, who is awaiting an uncertain fate abroad. Anti-fascist TV film set in Germany in the 1930s and during the Spanish War, atmospherically dense and hauntingly acted.”

TV Today gave one out of three possible points in the categories female drama, sophistication and suspense and concluded: "Socialism with icing."

The website of the daily newspaper Neues Deutschland reported at the time that this was a "star role for Helga Göring".

web links


  1. The great journey of Agathe Schweigert in the online dictionary of GDR television
  2. The great journey of Agathe Schweigert Fig. DVD cover "GDR TV archive" (in the picture: Helga Göring, Holm Henning Freier) at
  3. The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert at
  4. The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert. In: Lexicon of international film . Filmdienst , retrieved July 14, 2019 .Template:LdiF/Maintenance/Access used 
  5. The great journey of Agathe Schweigert see page Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  6. The Great Journey of Agathe Schweigert In: Neues Deutschland, January 14, 1997. Retrieved July 14, 2019.