A documentary film by Patricia Marchart
Their names are George, Inge, Jo, Sepp, Paula, Walo, Anita, Klaus and Klaus. They were acolytes, pupils, wards, and foster home children, who were sexually, emotionally and physically abused by members of the clergy.
Accompanied by the camera, the victims visit the locations of the crimes from back then. Many are making their stories public for the first time. Their families are also only finding out about this hidden pain for the first time. A nightmarish insight into arguably the greatest crime of the post-war period. Yet abuse remains a trauma throughout society, made possible by an environment of repression and of piety. Today, the Church and the state are allies in this cover-up. An accusation that will make you speechless, but also gives hope: „I have said everything, I am no longer a victim“, says Jo, one of the protagonists of the film.
Statement by Patricia Marchart
When we got the idea for this film, it wasn’t clear whether we would find anyone who would talk to the camera about the abuse they suffered. We deliberately gave everyone the option of speaking anonymously, or with the disclosure of their name. The result was different than we expected. Within a short space of time so many affected people responded that we were unable to accept them all. Each person was adamant that they wanted to tell the story of what happened to them under their own name.
The whole film is borne by an elemental power that came from the affected persons, to put an end to the silence.
Before the first interview I did not know what would happen. The camera was our independent observer that transported everything to the outside. I deliberately did not plan anything. The victims told their story without prompting. As if they had waited for decades for someone whom they could tell everything. What I heard was worse than I could ever have imagined. I couldn’t breathe, my knees were shaking.
It is hard to describe in words the things that were done to these people by priests, nuns and members of the Catholic Church. Only the people themselves can describe it.
The camera concept was clear after the first interview. The affected persons shaped the conversation. Together we then visited the scenes of the crimes, often places they had not been for decades. At the sites, I asked about impulses. The affected persons were able to interrupt filming at any time. Finally, the film material was edited together with those involved. To the very end, everyone had the option to revoke their film material, but nobody wanted to.
Those affected placed unbelievable trust in me and showed incredible openness. So much energy of hope and vitality was invested, which carries the whole film and which made it possible in the first place. This is a film that was clamouring to be made. The people who took part are the ones who made this film. My role was merely to be present with great attentiveness and with the camera, and to try to do justice to their stories.
Truthful material. Nothing more and nothing less. They are the stories of the victims. I thank all who were involved and who were willing to make this film from the bottom of my heart.