Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
In the first half of the 19th century there was a revolt in the central state of Hesse, led by Georg Büchner (Gregor Hansen), the well-known German writer, and a fellow rebel, Pastor Weidig (Franz Wittich). Büchner wrote a kind of declaration of peasant rights against the tyranny of the landholders of the time, and once that declaration ("Der Hessische Landbote") was made public, Büchner escaped to Strasbourg, and then to Zurich where he was killed in 1937, at the age of 23. Pastor Weidig was captured, sent to prison, tortured, and killed in prison. The revolution the two men had hoped for died on the vine due to an informer -- a planned uprising was brutally squelched -- and the peasants had to bide their time for another 12 years before the 1848 Revolution would bring them some of the rights demanded in Büchner's pamphlet. A few years before the release of this film, the Baader-Meinof leftist group (who had kidnaped and killed public-official Hanns Martin Schleyer) was caught and put in prison -- where they all died under unexplained circumstances in 1977. Director Helmut Herbst seems to have been making a parallel between the police hunt for Büchner and Weidig, and the search for the Baader-Meinof terrorists, and the manner in which these individuals were killed.
escape, history, peasant, rebel, revolution