Der Eid 1994/6:13

Walter Ulbricht
Francis Dhomont

A+A. Wengel
Frank Köhler

By means of a giant poster Walter Ulbricht addresses the inhabitants of the labourer´s paradise: „Niemand hat die Absicht eine Mauer zu errichten!“ We do not deeplyinto the past to doupt the truth of this slogan. One day it seemed nessesary to defend the German Democratik Republic against revisionist conspiracies of perfidious foreigners, who posioned the minds of the new utopia to the extent where they even braved the riscs of fully automatic machinegunposts and minefields to escape - toward the west!

Once again we see the familiar, all too familiar historical footage of people struggling through the barbed wire, of Vopos on guard near the Wall and soldiers attempting to emit something like glory in a Prussian parade-march, of smug authorities in an official portrait not yet aware this would be used in evidence against them later on. These images are presentedin isolating frames, relieved with colourful stripes and smudges as if they were part of a modern advertising campaign and accompained by a beautiful song sung by a peaple´s choir. But then it becomes clear that not everything in the garden is lovely.The pictures are shown haltingly and tentatively, whileabundant use of the rewind button has been

made, as if the documentary maker simply cannot grasp the enormity of these events. He even smashes the glass of the television screen with a hammer, an understandable expression of disgunst, but also a classical mistaking of the messenger for the message. And how did it end? Under the barbed wire pigeons found a quiet spot and graffiti writters a morally correct target, until the Wall came down and the next chapter could begin.

"The Oath" shows the parades and the pathos of the GDR and the oath on the republic, but also rising of the 17th of June 1953, the building of the wall in Berlin and the memory of slain fugitives. The shape of the images is like the fragments which result when at the end of the tape a monitor (latin for guard) is shattered. The pictorial documents appear schematic and torn before the background of white noise and the interferences of forgetting.

Versprechen, durch das der Mensch sich bindet.
Wer die Eidespflicht verletzt, bezahlt mit dem leben.

Gelöbnis der Mitarbeiter des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit
der ehemaligen DDR:

„Beseelt von leidenschaftlicher Liebe zu unserem
Sozialistischen Staat geloben wir, mit hoher politischer
Reife den Feind zu bekämpfen. Seine verbrecherischen
Pläne zu erkunden und zu vereiteln. Dem Feind keine
Chance für seine gegen Frieden, Demokratie und
Sozialismus gerichteten Machenschaften zu lassen.
Wir sind jederzeit bereit, die Deutsche Demokratische
Republik mit unserer ganzen Person bis zum Einsatz
unseres eigenen Lebens zu verteidigen.“