Eberhard Fechner

Eberhard Fechner

Darsteller, Regie, Drehbuch, Produzent
*21.10.1926 Liegnitz, Schlesien (heute Legnica, Polen); †07.08.1992 Hamburg

Biography

Eberhard Fechner was born in 1926 in Liegnitz (Silesia). He grew up with his mother and his stepfather Paul Fechner. For a long time, Fechner was not aware of the existence of his biological father, Helmut Schmuler, who was killed in a concentration camp. Together with his mother, Fechner moved to Berlin where he finished school and did a mercantile apprenticeship at the Ufa film studio. After the war, he attended acting classes at the German Theater and was engaged by theaters in Hamburg, Hanover, Berlin, Bremen, Munich, and Milan. During the 1960s, he worked as an actor and director at the Stadttheater Constance. Furthermore, he was appointed assistant intendant for one season.

Since the mid-60s, Fechner worked as a television director for the North German Broadcasting Company (NDR). His first documentary, "Selbstbedienung", was concerned with a teenage burglar trio. He specialized in deeply investigated and, at the same time, entertaining documentary films. After already having adapted two Hamburg folk plays ("Vier Stunden von Elbe1" and "Gezeiten") for television, "Nachrede auf Klara Heydebreck" (1966/1967) became Fechner’s first feature film. Here, he reconstructed a vita with the greatest possible accuracy. For "Aus nichtigem Anlass" (1973-1979) he investigated a homicide case and transferred the results into a screenplay.

In 1974/1975, Fechner directed the TV mini-series "Tadellöser & Wolff", an adaptation of Walter Kempowski’s novel about a family from Rostock. Subsequently, he concerned himself with the Comedian Harmonists and shot the several hours long documentary "Die Comedian Harmonists – sechs Lebensläufe" (1976), in which he also dealt with the time after the band was forced to break up by the Nazi regime. In 1988, he published a documentary book based on his movie. His only big-screen movie, "Winterspelt 1944" (1977/1978), is based on the novel by Alfred Andersch and centers on a German officer willing to surrender to the Americans in order to avoid more bloodshed.

From 1975 until 1984, Fechner worked on "Der Prozess", a documentary he considered to be his most important work. Using court files, graphic material and innumerable interviews, he depicted the so-called "Majdanek trial", the longest criminal proceeding in German history, in which former staff members of the Majdanek concentration camp were accused of having participated in the murder of thousands. Further film projects included the adaptation of Ralph Giordano’s novel "Die Bertinis" – which he could not direct himself due to illness, – "La Paloma" (1987-1989), a documentary on sailors, as well as the refugee story "Wolfskinder" (1989-1991). In addition, he repeatedly played supporting roles in features for film and television, e.g. in "Die Geschwister Oppermann" (" Oppermann Family", 1982) and in "Das Heimweh des Walerjan Wrobel" (1990/1991).

In 1992, Fechner died in Hamburg, where he had lived with his wife and colleague Jannet Gefken. Due to his very personal "realistic" style between documentary and fiction, he holds a unique position in German television history. As a whole, his movies - which have been shown in several retrospectives both at home and abroad – provide a broad panorama of German history.

Filmography

2003 Schnitt - Der Regisseur und die Cutterin
Participation
 
1990/1991 Das Heimweh des Walerjan Wróbel
Cast
 
1989-1991 Wolfskinder
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1989 Chronist des einzigartig Normalen
Cast
 
1987/1988 Ödipussi
Cast
 
1987-1989 La Paloma
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1987 Kinder wie die Zeit vergeht
Participation
 
1985 Abschiedsvorstellung
Cast
 
1983/1984 Im Damenstift
Director, Screenplay, Interviews, Producer
 
1983 Keine Übung
Cast
 
1982 Die Geschwister Oppermann
Cast
 
1978/1979 Ein Kapitel für sich
Director, Screenplay
 
1977/1978 Winterspelt 1944
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
1975/1976 Von Emma, Türkenpaul und Edwin mit der Geige
Cast
 
1975/1976 Comedian Harmonists
Director, Screenplay
 
1975-1984 Urteile
Director, Screenplay
 
1975-1984 Beweisaufnahme
Director, Screenplay
 
1975-1984 Der Prozeß. Eine Darstellung des Majdanek-Verfahrens in Düsseldorf
Director, Screenplay
 
1975-1984 Anklage
Director, Screenplay
 
1974/1975 Tadellöser & Wolff
Director, Screenplay
 
1974/1975 Unter Denkmalschutz. Lebensbeschreibungen aus einem Frankfurter Bürgerhaus
Director, Screenplay
 
1974-1976 Lebensdaten. Alltagsgeschichten aus Berlin
Director, Screenplay
 
1974 Lisa - Aus dem Leben einer Unentbehrlichen
Cast
 
1973/1976 Aus nichtigem Anlaß
Director, Screenplay
 
1972/1973 Bauern, Bonzen und Bomben
Cast
 
1971 Zwei Briefe an Pospischiel
Cast
 
1971 Geheimagenten
Director, Screenplay
 
1970/1971 Frankfurter Gold
Director, Screenplay
 
1970 Die Ernte von My Lai - Auswirkungen eines Massakers
Voice
 
1970 Klassenfoto
Director, Screenplay
 
1969/1970 Gezeiten
Director
 
1969 Das Fenster zum Garten
Cast
 
1969 Der Versager
Director
 
1969 Nachrede auf Klara Heydebreck
Voice, Director, Screenplay
 
1968/1969 Damenquartett
Director, Screenplay
 
1968 Über den Gehorsam. Szenen aus Deutschland
Cast
 
1967/1968 Vier Stunden von Elbe 1
Director
 
1967 Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt von der Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade
Cast
 
1967 Zuchthaus
Cast
 
1966/1967 Selbstbedienung. Ein Fall aus der Berliner Kriminalgeschichte
Director, Screenplay
 
1965/1966 Preis der Freiheit
Cast
 
1965 Im Schlaraffenland
Cast
 
1965 Ein Tag. Bericht aus einem deutschen Konzentrationslager 1939
Cast
 
1962 Der Schlaf der Gerechten
Cast
 
1957 Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull
Cast
 
1955/1956 Ein Mädchen aus Flandern
Cast
 
1955 Straßenknotenpunkt
Cast
 
1954 Frau Holle
Cast