Red Earth (TV series)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Television series
Country of production Germany
Year (s) 1983 Red Earth
1989 Red Earth II
length 60 (red earth) or 90 (red earth II) minutes
Episodes 9 (red earth) and 4 (red earth II)
genre Contemporary history
idea Peter Stripp
music Irmin Schmidt
First broadcast 1983 (Rote Erde), 1990 (Rote Erde II)

First season

Second season

Rote Erde is a German television film series in 13 parts (total playing time approx. 15 hours), released in 1983 (first season: Rote Erde, 9 parts) and 1989 (second season: Rote Erde II, 4 parts) directed by Klaus Emmerich was created. The camera was directed by Joseph Vilsmaier and Theo Bierkens . The theme music was composed by Irmin Schmidt .

The subject of the series is the story of a fictional family of miners in the Ruhr area over a period of around 70 years between the end of the 19th and the middle of the 20th century, against the background of the history of the German Empire from the German Empire through the Weimar Republic to the end of the Nazi dictatorship .

The film was shot in the studios and on the outdoor area of Bavaria-Film at Geiselgasteig near Munich . The lavishly designed exterior backdrops stood until 1996.

In 1984 Peter Stripp and Klaus Emmerich received honorable recognition for the series when they were awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize .


Red earth

The farmer Bruno Kruska, attracted by advertisers, came from Pomerania to the Ruhr area at the age of 17 to work as a miner at the Siegfried colliery. Initially as a tugboat , later as a chopper , Bruno found the work he had hoped for and witnessed the developments around the Siegfried colliery before the turn of the century. He marries Pauline, the daughter of the miner Friedrich Bötzkes. His son Karl developed into a social democrat during the imperial era , fell out with his father and left the family. He becomes a union official and finally a member of the Reichstag . Bruno is critical of the activities of the Social Democrats and does not allow himself to be captured. He was drafted for the First World War, but recalled from the front as something that could not be dispensed with in the mining industry.

Bruno's wife Pauline sympathized with both the Social Democrats and the Spartacists during the war , which Bruno does not really support, but also does not reject. At the end of this first part of the saga, the emperor abdicates and the miners, among them Bruno and his friend, the miner Otto Schablowski, occupy the mine and demand that it be nationalized . The cinematic representation only suggests that they were unable to assert themselves.

Red Earth II

Max Kruska, son of Bruno Kruska, experienced the depression and - also his own - unemployment after the First World War. The Siegfried colliery is occupied by the French and coal mining is primarily used for reparations . Max is impressed by the promises of the National Socialists and Adolf Hitler and joins the NSDAP . At the colliery, where Max was able to moor again, progress is coming. But Max had doubts about National Socialist Germany; When his uncle Karl and his brother-in-law Richard are imprisoned, he turns away from the politics he previously supported. From now on he supports the forced laborers who report to him underground and hopes that the war will end as soon as possible. But the murder of a young Russian slave laborer at the colliery, which Max saw, heightened his anger against the regime again. Ultimately, together with his brother-in-law Richard, who has since been released from prison, Max prevents the Siegfried colliery from being destroyed by the Wehrmacht at the end of the war .

The story ends with the colliery being closed for economic reasons and the headframe being blown up a few years later .


Bruno Kruska ( Claude-Oliver Rudolph ): Bruno Kruska comes to the Ruhr area at the beginning of the series as the 17-year-old son of Pomeranian farmers and starts to work first above ground , later also underground in the Siegfried colliery. He quickly made friends with Otto Schablowski and the Boetzkes family . At first he was accommodated in a communal dormitory for the miners, later he moved in as a sleeper with Erna Stanek and lived with his new family after his military service. In one of his first shifts underground, he and Friedrich Boetzkes were trapped in the seam by the falling fracture; however, both can be saved safely after hours of work. Although he also calls for an improvement in working conditions, he is reluctant to support the other miners' strikes . He sees a common interest group of all mine workers in the Revier (trade union) as an easy target for the employers' associations, which is why in his opinion the workers should only organize themselves in their own company. When his friend Herbert Boetzkes was shot dead by Steiger Bärwald during the strike , Bruno took the next opportunity to plunge the Steiger into the blind shaft and thus kill him. After completing his military service, he married Pauline Botzkes . This initially causes some problems, since he is Protestant himself , while Pauline is Catholic . Neither of the two wants to convert, which means that a church wedding is not possible, which in turn causes the devout Friedrich to briefly expel his daughter. Shortly before the turn of the century, their son Max was born , while Bruno was missing for a long time due to the mine fire. The daughter Franziska is also born between the episodes “Die Grube is brennt” and “The candidates” . Later he attended the mountain school to become a climber himself. Because at the same time his brother Charles against the mine owner Rewandowski fighting for a seat in the Reichstag, and Bruno is assumed his position as an elected shop steward for electoral purposes to abuse (in fact he does nothing of the kind, but is merely protectively in front of Pauline , on the He is not allowed to continue his training. In 1912 Bruno narrowly escaped death for the third time when he hit a gas bubble with a jackhammer while chopping coal and passed out due to the bad weather. However , he can be rescued together with his tugboat Rudi . He survived the First World War without any consequences and was called back to the colliery as an experienced miner, as there was a lack of strong workers. After the war the workers strive for a soviet republic and occupy the colliery in the hope of being able to exert political influence. During this period Bruno is the operator of the colliery, which is recaptured by the workers through the use of the military.

In the second season, Bruno lies in the colliery's infirmary to cure his pneumonia . However, since he cannot stand this calm, he continues to drive in. He rejects the escalating disputes between the Communists , Social Democrats and National Socialists and remains largely apolitical himself. He cannot overcome the death of his friend Otto , whose body he had to identify. He claims to have lied to his son and the other pals that the body shown to him was not that of his best friend. In the wishful thinking that Otto is still alive, Bruno gets so involved that it ultimately becomes his undoing: When he carries out a weather check underground , he sees a glow in the old man that he is convinced would be his deceased friend. He climbs in and is buried. Later his son Max and his friend Jupp Kowalla are able to free him, but in the end Bruno succumbs to his injuries. His funeral procession is abruptly interrupted when a demonstration march of the anti-fascist action taking place in the settlement is attacked by members of the storm department led by Reviersteigers Martin Stanek .

Otto Schablowski ( Ralf Richter ): Like Bruno, Otto Schablowski is the son of Pomeranian farmers, but has been a miner for some time. His big dream is to save enough money to buy his own piece of land in his old homeland. He becomes Bruno's best friend and teaches him the mining trade. He is extremely comradely and likes to take on the Steiger for the benefit of his colleagues. In order to improve general working conditions, he is one of the spokesmen during the strike. In the first episode, "The First Shift: Buried Alive", he works tirelessly to shovel Bruno and Friedrich Boetzkes free again. When the families run out of money to buy food during the strike, Otto gives away the savings he has collected so that the strike does not end. In the episode "Bruno and Pauline" he wants to protect a worker from the inhuman nature of an overseer by slapping him in the face. Then he has to go to jail. However, he can break out and hides with Erna Stanek . When the fire in the pit breaks out, he leaves his hiding place to help his comrades. After the fire, he was arrested again and served the remainder of his sentence. After that he moored on a pütt in Belgium . He too went to war, after it had ended, returned to the Siegfried colliery and helped to occupy it. According to one of Erna's statements to Bruno , Otto is the father of a stillborn daughter who was born eight months after starting his military service. However, the child could also come from Bruno , Erna is not sure herself in this case.

In the second season, Otto , unlike his best friend Bruno , was spared severe pneumonia . He is also one of the few miners who continue to drive in. Otto strictly refuses to have to mine coal for the French. During the occupation of the Ruhr he therefore carried out an assassination attempt on a French ammunition depot with stolen dynamite , in which he was presumably killed. Bruno identifies his body, but later claims to have lied. His theory that Otto made it back to Pomerania, however, seems unlikely, especially since Bruno is apparently trying to suppress the death of his friend during this difficult time.

Friedrich Boetzkes ( Horst Ch. Beckmann ): Friedrich Boetzkes is a long-serving and very experienced miner, also a multiple father. He mourns the time before the Industrial Revolution , when miners were still a respected profession and not cheap labor from large corporations. He is married to the much younger Käthe and has their son Klaus with her . The sons Karl , Herbert and Willi , as well as the daughters Pauline and Friedel come from the first marriage . Bruno becomes his son-in-law after his marriage to Pauline . To Karl he has due to its political views quite strained relationship. He himself rejects the other miners' strike and drives to work every day. This attitude does not change because Herbert limps due to an accident in the mine and Willi dies during the mine fire. For the devout Catholic it is also a bitter disappointment that his daughter is marrying a Protestant , although he likes Bruno very much as a miner and as a person. Friedrich has been suffering from rheumatism since the episode "Bruno and Pauline" and although he has worked for many years, he receives only a small amount of compensation from the miners . He died in 1912 in the presence of his grandson Max and was buried with great interest. His son Klaus is killed in the war.

Karl Boetzkes ( Dominic Raacke ): Karl Boetzkes is Friedrich's oldest son and also a miner. He is a staunch social democrat , advocates workers' rights and tries to mobilize the other buddies. Because of this attitude in the time of the Socialist Law , he was arrested several times and often argued with his father. His atheistic and anti-clerical attitude also contributes to this conflict . He rejects the strikes because he thinks they have not been thought through and he is striving to improve all colliery workforces, not just his own. Later he belongs to a delegation that is supposed to represent the interests of the workers in Berlin, becomes a trade union official in nearby Dortmund and can assert himself in the election for a seat in the Reichstag against the mine owner Rewandowski . The joy of his electorate, especially in his old settlement, is limitless at first - but quickly evaporates when Karl (who negotiates personally with Rewandowski as a representative of the industrialists), the unions and the SPD fail during the two months following strike to implement the promised goals. When Karl supported him during the war according to the attitude of his party instead of campaigning for peace, he lost all approval of his voters. After the war, this increased into sheer dislike, because instead of supporting the occupation of the colliery (and also the introduction of the required Soviet republic), Karl asked for its termination in order to negotiate politically with the industrialists. The occupiers do not want to be put off any longer; Charles' objection that the mine would then be militarily liberated is expressed by Bruno with the words “Civil War! I don't have more to say to you! ”Acknowledged.

In the second season (now played by Alexander Wagner ) Karl, together with Rewandowski, campaigns for greater cooperation between workers and colliery operators in order to jointly tackle the unjust coal demands of the French and to strengthen the economy of the young republic - for this there are also setbacks within labor rights such as adding longer daily shifts. However, he learns from a French officer that the colliery association is secretly making its own agreements with the occupiers in order to change working conditions even further in its own favor. Since the end of the war he has increasingly lost the reputation of his old pals, as they feel neglected by him and no longer see their interests being taken care of. He was later imprisoned with some of his comrades, but was freed by Jupp Kowalla . However, he does not want to have to flee into exile because of his convictions and goes back to custody with Richard Brosch . Years later Richard tells that Karl died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp .

Alfred Rewandowski ( Walter Renneisen ): At the beginning of the series, Alfred Rewandowski is the new district climber and nephew of the mine owner, later he takes over the management of the mine. He doesn't seem interested in the demands of his workers, but is very concerned about accidents such as the burial of Bruno and Friedrich or the fire in the pit and is one of the first to come to the rescue, even underground. He had a temporary relationship with Käthe Boetzkes before he married and had a son himself. Through this marriage he also becomes the heir to a steel company that grew enormously through products for the armaments industry before and during the World War. Alongside Karl Boetzkes , he is one of two candidates who want to move into the Reichstag for the region around the Siegfried colliery. In order to make himself popular with the workforce and to secure voters, he even feigns sympathy during Friedrich's funeral, which he interrupted by his sudden appearance, modernized the technology underground, had a new, more modern settlement built and gave the residents of the old settlement Beer and soup out. Karl wins after all. Rewandowski's electoral defeat cost him some respect among other industrialists in the area.

In the second season, Rewandowski wants to keep his business under his own control and always rejects the interference of the Nazi state . As early as the 1920s, he left a speech by Hitler in disgust, on the grounds that this man had no idea of ​​economics and was only propagating demagoguery . After the National Socialists came to power, he wrote a circular to other entrepreneurs demanding not to cooperate with the Nazis and to stop coal mining. Rewandowski sees in their actions only preparations for a new war, which he believes will follow in order to implement the National Socialist philosophy. However, he cannot assert himself against his son Fritz , himself a member of the NSDAP. He then commits suicide.

Erna Stanek ( Karin Neuhäuser ): Erna Stanek lives with her sons Martin and Hannes in the settlement of the Siegfried colliery. She is a widow, her husband had an accident in the mountain, so that she often accommodates sleeping boys. In addition to her dead husband's pension, she occasionally engages in prostitution ; one of her most frequent clients is Otto . She seems to have an intimate relationship with him even without pay, but sees an insurmountable obstacle to a solid bond in her advanced age. Before his military service, Bruno was with her as well . Upon his return, she explains to him that she has given birth to a dead daughter in the meantime. However, she is not sure whether the child was Bruno or Otto . Erna is also committed to improving working conditions and often intervenes in a loud voice when the miners argue because of their religions ( Protestants against Catholics ) or their origins ( Germans against the "Polack" from the eastern Prussian regions) to fight together . Later she takes in Vladislaus, a Polish-born sleeper who does not go to war because of his advanced age . Instead, he takes on the role of father for the young Max during Bruno's front mission, teaches him underground as a miner and is one of the social democratic spokesmen. Martin and Hannes , who for nationalistic reasons do not want to live in the same house with Vladislaus , move into a dormitory. Erna is deeply dismayed by the squalor of her sons , but still mourns Hannes' death during the war. Martin doesn't see her again until the end of the war, when he and other soldiers are supposed to recapture the mine. Later on, he becomes a district engineer and operator.

Max Kruska ( Hansa Czypionka ): Max Kruska is the son of Bruno Kruska and his wife Pauline . He was born in 1899 on the site of the Siegfried colliery, while his father was still missing due to the fire in the mine. As a child he had to watch the death of his grandfather Friedrich Boetzke . Since he was able to save the son of the mine owner Rewandowski , Fritz , from drowning, he received a bicycle from him in gratitude. Since there was a shortage of men during the war, Max drove in as a teenager, earlier than usual. Here he is first tug , then auxiliary Hauer for Vladislaus and makes friends with the prisoners of war Maurice to which later than Saboteur to be accused (because he does not want to work in insufficiently developed coal seam), can escape (or through the intervention of fellow climber Wernicke " may ”) and then finds refuge in the Kruskas house , where he becomes Kathe's lover and remains after the war. As a personal act of revenge for the hardships suffered during the war, Max would like to carry out an attack on the abdicated emperor : Since the railway line on which the emperor sets out on his way into exile happens to be close to the colliery site, the onlookers wait together for the Monarch mockingly saying goodbye. When general excitement breaks out as the train is approaching, Max , unnoticed , pulls out a Molotov cocktail , which he wants to throw on the passing train. Bruno notices this at the last second and prevents further action by pouncing on his son. After the war, Max made friends with Fritz Rewandwoski, whose life he had saved years earlier: Since he had no desire to be a businessman and would rather be a miner himself, Max hid him for a while and took him under a false name with underground. During the occupation of the colliery, Fritz is even ready to defend it with the workers against the soldiers, but is ultimately expelled from the site by Bruno . The friendship does not last over the years.

In the second season, Max , who has been unemployed for a long time, becomes the father of an illegitimate son named Olaf after a brief affair with Charlotte . Max initially only names him Olli , later in memory of his father Bruno . Charlotte is ashamed of this and marries a much older Jewish laundry owner, which is why Max is rarely allowed to see his son. As a declared opponent of the occupying power, he becomes a member of the NSDAP and often wears an SA uniform , which is why he often argues with his left-wing friends Jupp Kowalla and Richard Brosch , as well as his sister Fränzi . He also appears dressed like this for Olli's birthday and repeatedly provokes Charlotte's Jewish husband. He later marries Sofie , Richard's sister , and has other children with her. When the Nuremberg Laws come into force, Charlotte separates from her Jewish husband and gives Max their son to supervise. As an experienced miner , and freed from military service due to his advanced age , he takes over the supervision of some Russian forced laborers who are now increasingly working in the colliery. However, by approaching these, the inhumane conditions under which they are held, and because of the imprisonment of his friend Richard and his uncle Karl , he loses his National Socialist idealism. When, during an air raid, a young Russian took the opportunity to steal something to eat in a bakery, he was caught and publicly hung in the yard of the colliery, which meant that Max wanted to leave his NSDAP membership behind him for good. With his brother-in-law, who has meanwhile been released from prison, shortly before the end of the war, he prevents the operations manager, Sturmbannführer Martin Stanek, from blowing up the shaft tower, especially since Max and Richard still believe in life after the war. During the funeral of his mother, who was killed in an air raid, he witnessed how the first soldiers of the United States Army reached the Ruhr area. After the war, because of his party membership, he was interrogated by the British in the course of denazification , but did not testify against himself or against the hated Stanek . Here he meets Jupp again , who now works as a translator for the British. Max sees this as betrayal and a friendship break, but soon reconciles with him. Since Max refuses to make any statements about Stanek , even in a private conversation with Jupp , and he shows little remorse on the outside, he still seems to hold on to National Socialism to a certain extent. When the English wanted to blow up the winding tower shortly after the war, Max and his nephew Schorschi occupied it and were able to prevent it from being blown up. His son Olli returns unscathed from an American prisoner of war , but now refuses to drive in. So father and son quarrel, which is why Olli leaves the settlement in the middle of the night. After Stanek is again employed as a manager, Max confronts him with the hanging of the young slave laborer and calls him provocatively "Sturmbannführer" several times. Stanek only relies on the law applicable at the time, which is why Max overwrites a memorial plaque of fallen soldiers, dedicates it to the young Russian and then holds a vigil on the mine grounds. Together with Fränzi , Sofie , Jupp and Richard , Max witnessed the demolition of the headframe of the Siegfried colliery in the late 1950s.

Richard Brosch ( Max Herbrechter ): Richard Brosch is not initially a miner, but works in a nearby hut . As a painter, he also designed social democratic posters. This is how he met Fränzi Kruska , who is his model. Later he also moored at the Siegfried colliery and worked with Max . He married Fränzi after she gave birth to their son Georg-Vladimir (named after Lenin ). However, this could also be the birth child of Jupp Kowalla . Richard is very active politically and was on the works council. Thus his social democratic attitude is known to everyone. After the introduction of the Enabling Act and the ban on other parties , he is arrested by the Sturmabteilung . In custody he meets Karl and together they want to unite the social democrats and communists who are considered irreconcilable . Before that, however, they are freed by Jupp with a ruse. Neither Richard nor Karl want to have to flee abroad because of their convictions and therefore voluntarily return to detention. From there they are taken to a concentration camp. When the colliery ran out of workers during the war , Max was able to persuade the manager Stanek to apply for his brother-in-law's freedom. So is Richard after 10 years in prison and raises along with Max again. He too witnesses the execution of a Soviet slave laborer. Shortly before the end of the war, as members of the Volkssturm , the two prevent Stanek from blowing up the headframe and the pit entrance. After the war, Richard becomes one of the leading social democrats and trade unionists in the region and is very committed to democratization . The nationalization of mining, which the federal government has rejected, remains a major point of contention . He rejects the strikes started by the communists and therefore argues with Jupp , he prefers the political and democratic solution. So he neglects his wife Fränzi , who is comforting herself with Jupp . In the late 1950s, Richard, along with Sofie , Fränzi , Max and Jupp, witnessed the demolition of the Siegfried colliery for economic reasons.

Jupp Kowalla ( Klaus J. Behrendt ): Jupp Kowalla is also a miner and works on the same shift as Max and Bruno . Unlike most of his friends, he is not a social democrat , but a staunch communist and strives for the dictatorship of the proletariat . Although he is good friends with Max , two politically warring camps face each other. It also happens that they fight each other while they work. Jupp is interested in Fränzi and possibly the father of her son, whom Richard, as her future husband, however, adopts as his child. On the day of the great wave of left-wing workers arrested, Jupp realizes the danger on the way to the colliery and tries to convince Richard to flee with him. Richard continues on his way undeterred and is taken into "protective custody" by the waiting SA men . Jupp steals the SA uniform from Max, who is on vacation, and gets the badge of an Obersturmbannführer . With some of his comrades he penetrates the prison, which is an occupied school, and demands the release of Richard , Karl and a few other inmates so that they can be "interrogated elsewhere". The plan initially seems to work until the responsible squad leader receives a call and wants to inquire about the correctness of this arrangement. However, Jupp reacts very quickly, pulls the telephone cable out of the wall and can defeat the squad leader in a duel. Just when he comes to and sounds the alarm, Jupp and the others are able to flee in a truck. Richard and Karl do not want to go along with his plan to flee to Belgium . So the fugitives leave them in a forest. Jupp manages to escape to nearby Belgium, from where he makes it to England. After the war he returned to the Siegfried colliery as a translator for the British and met his old friends. Since Max , whose testimony the British want to use in the denazification process against Stanek , refuses to do so, Jupp accuses his friend of still being a Nazi himself. On the question of the new political orientation, Jupp clearly appeals to also work with the Soviet occupation zone and prevent a split. Even after his work as a translator, he stayed in the settlement and moved in with Fränzi . In the anti-communist era under Konrad Adenauer , Jupp once again saw himself politically oppressed and, at Stanek's assistance, was dismissed as a member of the works council (elected by the workers). At the same time, he often argues with Richard , because while both are calling for the nationalization of mining, the SPD rejects the strikes instigated by the communists as a means of pressure and wants to fight democratically in parliament for nationalization. In the 1950s, he and Richard , Max , Fränzi and Sofie watched the mining tower being blown up for economic reasons.

Martin Stanek ( Thomas Wolff ): Martin Stanek is still a child at the beginning of the series and is the only main character alive during the entire course of the plot. He is the older son of Erna Stanek and lives with his younger brother Hannes with his mother. As children still on their mother's side, they sometimes develop malicious traits afterwards. While the two of them get rid of the gendarmes who are looking for Otto , who was sick and almost frozen to death during his escape, hiding with Erna , as young adults they stand out primarily for their racist remarks and willingness to use violence (that's how they beat up young Max , the leaflet distributed on the occasion of the candidacy of his uncle, or try to rape Friedel , which fails due to the accidental passing by two gendarmes). They report to Bruno underground . Later both of them go to war voluntarily. Hannes falls while Erna does not hear from Martin for a long time . When the workers occupied the mine after the war, Martin was one of the soldiers they were supposed to recapture. It is even he who calls on the occupiers to give up, while Erna curses her son to join his old friends. Martin ignores her pleading with a stony face.

In the 1920s he worked as a Reviersteiger and was already an active member of the NSDAP at that time . After the establishment of the National Socialist state , Stanek was employed as a manager in the rank of Sturmbannführer . He gets along well with Max for a long time , especially since Max is a member of the NSDAP. He also becomes Charlotte's new husband after she separated from her Jewish husband; thus he is also the stepfather of Max's illegitimate son Olaf . He treats the Soviet forced laborers like subhumans and complains to Max that he lacks good workers. He can then convince him to campaign for the release of his brother-in-law Richard , which Stanek does. When, during an air raid, a young slave laborer took the chance to steal something edible from a bombed bakery and was caught doing it, Stanek had him executed on the colliery site. In addition, a second, old Russian is shot because he wanted to help the boy. Stanek is present at the execution, while Max , who made friends with the Russians under his command, developed an enormous hatred for him. At the end of the war he wants to flee from the approaching Allies and first execute the Führer order “to leave only scorched earth behind” by blowing up the mine. In doing so, Max and Richard stop him , who as Volkssturm men are supposed to guard the mine and, unlike the fanatical Stanek , expect a life after the war if coal is needed for the rebuilding. His escape was unsuccessful, he was arrested and brought to justice after the war for his offenses against the forced laborers. Here Jupp Kowalla act as the translator for the British and Max as a witness. Since Max , like others, refuses to give evidence, Stanek receives a mild sentence of just three years on probation. After this time, Stanek is again the operator of the mine and, among other things, ensures that the communist Jupp is dismissed from the works council. He tries to build up a good relationship with Max again , but Max refuses and calls him provocatively "Sturmbannführer". Max also confronts him with the hanging of the young slave laborer , whereupon he angrily claims that he always obeyed the law and only obeyed orders. Stanek also reacts very angrily to the vigil that Max then holds publicly, but cannot dissolve it.


Season 1: Rote Erde (first broadcast in 1983)

  • Episode 1: The First Layer: Buried Alive (1887)
  • Episode 2: Struggle for Survival (1889)
  • Episode 3: In the blind shaft (1889–1890)
  • Episode 4: Bruno and Pauline (1893-1894)
  • Episode 5: The Pit Is Burning (1899)
  • Episode 6: The Candidates (1912)
  • Episode 7: Thirty Pfennig More (1912)
  • Episode 8: For Emperor and Fatherland (1914–1918)
  • Episode 9: Five Days and Five Nights (1919)

Season 2: Rote Erde II (first broadcast in 1990)

  • Episode 1: Franzosenzeche
  • Episode 2: Heil Hitler or Glück auf
  • Episode 3: Coal for the final victory
  • Episode 4: Who Owns the Pütt?


Although the temporal scope of action during the first season is given for each episode, there are some inconsistencies across all seasons regarding the age of the characters or historical events. In the last episode, which takes place around 1949, it is mentioned that Karl Boetzkes would have turned 74 shortly before. However, this age does not match the figure shown by Dominic Raacke in the first episode, who is clearly a grown man, but according to the statement should be no more than 12 years old. It is similar with Alfred Rewandowski , who is already a Reviersteiger in the first episode and is over 30 years old. At the time of his suicide, he must have been at least eighty years old. Since Walter Renneisen also played his role from the previous season in the second season, an older actor was dispensed with (unlike Raacke), but the character itself does not seem as old as it should be.

The role of Martin Stanek , who is already alive in the first episode, also seems inconsistent . He is shown as a toddler during the pit fire, but he should be around 14 years old by now. Likewise, as a returnee from the war, he appears extremely youthful, although he is already over 30 years old at the time. In the second season, which not long afterwards, his age is adjusted to his year of birth, but there is such a strong contrast. The apparently growing age difference between Olaf and his cousin Schorschi is also remarkable . They are born with only a short interval of about two to three years, but Olaf returns from captivity as a young adult in his early twenties, while Schorschi is still almost a child.

With the help of some historical reference points, the depicted periods of the second season can be named very precisely: The first episode depicts the occupation of the Ruhr , which occurred as a result of hyperinflation in 1923 . The introduction of the Reichsmark in 1924 and the political rise of Hitler from around 1925/1926 are also shown; the result is a term of around three to four years. The second episode begins after the Enabling Act was passed , which resulted in political parties and trade unions being banned. Hitler's birthday (April 20, 1934) is also mentioned; At the same time, there were also numerous arrests of opposition party members (such as those of Karl and Richard ). The end point marked the Reichspogromnacht with the attacks on, among others, Charlotte and her Jewish husband; In this episode, Olaf is mimed by two actors (as a smaller child and around the age of 12). The third episode, on the other hand, only lasts a few months: it begins in January 1945 ( Olaf mentions the liberation of the extermination camps in Auschwitz and Treblinka , which he learns about through a self-made radio receiver) and ends with the capture of the area by the American soldiers in April 1945. The last episode begins immediately after the war and the occupation of the area by British forces. The currency reform and the existing state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia will be addressed later ; also the existing federal government and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer . The main story ends around 1949/1950; it follows the demolition of the headframe as an epilogue "10 years later".


No specific location is mentioned during the entire course of the action. Since administratively only half of the Ruhr area belonged to Westphalia (as indicated by the title Rote Erde ), the Siegfried colliery must be in the northeastern area. The chaplain comments on his transfer to Werden with the words that he should be "as far away as possible", which roughly confirms this.

In episode 2, on the occasion of the election of the strike delegates, real mines are mentioned instead of fictitious pits ("Hermine II", "Cäcilie", "Karl August", etc.): " Wilhelmine Viktoria " and " Graf Bismarck " are in Gelsenkirchen, “ Bonifacius ” in Essen. In the second season, some statements and signs give an idea of ​​where the mine is: This is how the residents see and hear the explosion of the ammunition depot blown up by Otto , which, according to Max, is in Haßlinghausen . Later, a sister of the Caritas association center in Hattingen (that's what it says on her carriage) delivers laundry and the communist leaflets hidden in it to the Kruska family . Together with Rewandowski's statement that the Siegfried colliery was already over 100 years old (at the beginning of the 19th century, Ruhr mining was concentrated on the latter cities), the area of ​​today's Ennepe-Ruhr district appears to be the most likely place of action. A beer brewery from Dortmund can be read on a sign at the restaurant. The newspaper that Friedrich Boetzkes read is also called Tremonia , which is the Latin name for the city of Dortmund.

The electoral district winner of the Reichstag election in 1912 , Karl Boetzkes, is a fictional character, but has a similar vita to the actual constituency winner Max König (for example, the life data, the manual work at a young age and the rise to a trade unionist). This won the mandate in the constituency of Hagen - Schwelm - Witten , which includes the mentioned localities. The only other constituency winner of the SPD in the Ruhr area that year was the dentist and writer August Erdmann in the constituency of Dortmund - Hörde .

The headframe in the first season bears a clear resemblance to an early photo of the Hibernia colliery from the 1850s, as it is printed in the WAZ Chronicle of the Ruhr Area (1987). By 1887, when the series began, such scaffolding was of course long out of date and almost nowhere in use.


  • Rote Erde was first broadcast in nine parts, Rote Erde II in four parts, each by ARD .
  • Since red earth was difficult to access for a long time and i. d. As a rule, it was very expensive to obtain, the ARD-Video series was re-released as a 5-DVD box in November 2007; Rote Erde II as a 2-DVD box in January 2008.
  • In June 2010, ARD-Video released Rote Erde and Rote Erde II as part of the Great Stories series . For the first time, both parts were available in one box (EAN 4031778060312).
  • Based on the television series, the director Volker Lösch staged a play of the same name at the Essen Theater in 2012 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Christiane Enkeler: unemployment drama and founding myth of the Ruhr area . Deutschlandfunk , September 28, 2012, accessed on February 10, 2018.