Die Kinder aus Korntal

Filmstill The Children of Korntal

The Children of Korntal

Die Kinder aus Korntal
Julia Charakter
German Competition Documentary Film 2023
Documentary Film
90 minutes

In Korntal, a small town of 9,000 souls in Baden-Württemberg, hundreds of children were abused in the homes of the Evangelical Brethren since the 1950s. Forced labour, physical punishment and sexualised violence were the order of the day. To date, more than 150 former children have broken their silence, more than 80 perpetrators have been identified. Because the latter covered for each other and the neighbours looked away, the children were defenceless against the abuse for decades. When the scandal was exposed in 2013, the community and the village were hostile at first: That which must not be cannot be. It was only when the pressure from the outside grew that the community initiated a process of dealing with the scandal. But it is controversial: victims are re-traumatised, their statements doubted. To this day the children from Korntal are fighting for investigation and compensation.

The film focuses on the victims and avoids all dramatisation. What happened was dramatic enough, after all. When testimonies are only played as audio-recordings to protect the speakers, a simple animation fills the visual gaps. When those responsible today speak, the camera stays restrained and does not judge. That is not necessary anyway, because the inconceivable relativisation of the crimes speaks loudly enough – in Korntal as elsewhere.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Julia Charakter
Julia Charakter
Jonas Eckert
Jonas Eckert, Julia Charakter
Birgit Schulz
Sound Design
Volker Ambruster
Leonard Küßner
Mick Mahler
ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel, GeoTelevision
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW GmbH
Winner of: DEFA Sponsoring Prize