Christian media prize for movie about pastor who hid dictator; here is why


Central Europe


Photo ZDF, Movie Still

A movie about a pastor who hid the dictator Honecker from the GDR received a Christian media prize on Thursday. According to the producer, the film has some important lessons.

Forgiveness, reconciliation and standing up for enemies. These Christian virtues emerge in the film "Honecker and the pastor". Therefore, it deserves the Christian media award 'Golden Compass'. This was stated by the son of the pastor who hid Honecker. Reinhard Holmer says the film corresponds exactly to how his parents would have wanted it.

Reinhard's father, Uwe Holmer, hid former GDR leader Erich Honecker in his home with his wife in the 1990s. The film by director Jan Josef Liefers tells how Pastor Holmer's family, who themselves experienced repression because of their faith in the GDR, nevertheless opened their home to hide Honecker. This was no small thing to do: during this period, Holmer's house was besieged by journalists and protesters.

The film earned Jan-Josef Liefers the 'Goldener Kompass' on Thursday. This Christian media award is given every two years to productions that "bring religious topics into the public debate."

Fairy tale

For director Jan-Josef Liefers, the story of the Holmer family is almost a fairy tale. "After their fall, the dictator and his wife did not end up in distant exile in some warm country but in the children's room of a rectory, at the other end of the communist food chain. You can't make up something like that."

Christian magazine PRO, whose publisher organised the award ceremony, calls it remarkable that a film with Christian themes is doing so well in a world full of church abandonment. Liefers, an agnostic himself, argues that the church's marginalisation is mostly self-inflicted. "Their offers and public statements in a crisis often seem state-oriented, adjusted or evasive. Perhaps also as a result of the abuse scandals and the associated loss of innocence?"

At the same time, Liefers also sees a growing need for religion. "But there are also places where the number of Christians is growing. China, for example. Cults are also popular. So there is an unbroken human longing everywhere for spiritual balance in a hyper-materialistic world, for inner peace in times of war."


According to Liefers, the film imparts some important lessons to the viewer: "Follow your inner compass. Act humanely. Don't trust ideologues. Don't make anyone an object, and don't let anyone make you an object. Capitalism can make you rich, but not necessarily happy. Social media has not made the world a better place."

The man around whom it all revolved, Pastor Uwe Holmer, did not live to see the ceremony. He died in September this year at the age of 94.



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