By Astrid Schult

The Last Traces

German author and documentary filmmaker Astrid Schult travels to Belarus and Russia together with her parents to visit the graves of her grandfathers fallen as soldiers in the second world war. What are the last traces people leave behind when they die? A web diary in English and German on the way to the documentary premiered at Solitude on September 14, 2017.

Web Diary – The Last Traces #5


We travel from St. Petersburg to Chayki, Oblast Pskow. As a child you accept things as they are. During the trip I realize that there’s something I would have liked to experience. Something that was natural for other children. Sitting on your grandfather’s lap. Walking with him, holding his hand. Hearing his voice saying my name. That never happened. Maybe I’m here exactly because of this and don’t want to leave. I want to understand a feeling that I didn’t

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Web Diary – The Last Traces #4


We overslept. Now it must go quickly. We check out online. For breakfast we shovel pancakes into our mouths. We change money, pack. Here we go. Mom still wants a souvenir. Ilya, too, was once arrested. He was a young father at the time, in his early thirties. He was locked into a tiny prison cell, only nine square meters, with seven other men. He spent the first two days in darkness without food and water. Once he was forced

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Web Diary – The Last Traces #3

The Graves

Sascha, a young man working at the museum, explains what happened during the battles on June 25, 1941, in Drahicyn, a small town southeast of Minsk. It starts with an attack by the German Wehrmacht at the western end of Drahicyn. After heavy fights, the Soviet troops retreat. On the street heading toward Zaplese the next morning, a group of Russian soldiers barricade themselves in the chapel at the cemetery. They open fire on the German soldiers with machine guns, advancing

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Web Diary – The Last Traces #2

The Searching

My mother never had the option to grieve. She makes up for this now, 76 years later. Now she cries in the morning in the hotel room. At the German War Graves Commission in Minsk, we learn from Mr. Brast, an official who was born in the former GDR, that the Google map I printed to find the grave is useless. The streets were different in 1941. He shows us the street that we have to find today. Mr. Brast

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Web Diary – The Last Traces #1


My mother is noticeably quiet, her face looks tense. At home I told her not to expect too much. But maybe I was talking to myself as well. To be honest, I’m afraid of returning to Germany empty-handed, of disappointing my parents and myself. Four days lie ahead of us. Four days in which we have to collect all materials, sound, and images; memories and moods; all colors, words and faces. Other questions also cross my mind: How will we meet

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Web Diary – The Last Traces #0


I stand at the beginning of a search for traces of the remains of my grandfathers, their stories, their personalities about which I know almost nothing, or just a bit. Both have been killed as young soldiers of the German Wehrmacht in Belarus and Russia. There should be their graves. Together with my parents I will travel first to Belarus and then to Russia. (We can’t cross the Russian border officially over a third country, thats why there have to

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Studio Berlin

The Last Traces – Studio Visit

»No film is as exciting as life and the stories life describes. The closer I am to these stories, the better I understand other people and what motivates them.« –Astrid Schult We meet on a Monday morning at the publishing house Neues Deutschland, the former official party newspaper of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, located directly behind the Berlin club Berghain. The last tired dancers are on their way home back to reality, resting their bones from an endless

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