In 1896 Hamburg, work on the docks is hard and labour unrest is brewing. Management is deaf to demands for higher pay. The situation reaches a boiling point and the dockworkers call a strike. One of the movement’s organisers is particularly hard hit. He lives in a neighbourhood that is a warren of alleyways, with his bedridden wife, elderly mother, and small daughter. On Christmas Eve, he is arrested and hauled to the police station, where he faces off against his brother – a police sergeant and representative of the class enemy … Made on the eve of the global economic crisis, Werner Hochbaum’s look back at the failed Hamburg dockworkers’ strike is a reminder of the achievements in social welfare that the trade unions and social democracy forces brought about in the Weimar Republic. Hochbaum’s feature debut was financially supported by both the unions and the Social Democratic Party. Its documentary passages provide authenticity and at the end – just as on the Battleship Potemkin – a colourised red flag flutters in the wind. – World premiere of the digitally restored version with new music by Martin Grütter, played by the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Raphael Haeger.
by Werner Hochbaum
with Gyula Balogh, Erna Schumacher, Ilse Berger, Hafenarbeiter und Arbeiterfrauen, Kinder und andere Menschen
Germany 1929 German intertitles 78’ Black/White & Tinting


  • Gyula Balogh
  • Erna Schumacher
  • Ilse Berger
  • Hafenarbeiter und Arbeiterfrauen
  • Kinder und andere Menschen


Director Werner Hochbaum
Written by Werner Hochbaum
Cinematography Gustav Berger
Production Design Walter Roon-Günteritz
Art Director Oscar Lorenzen
Producer Werner Hochbaum

Produced by

Werner Hochbaum-Filmproduktion

Additional information

DCP: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin