CH: Is the question of responsibility also defining in terms of your current documentary project Die letzten Spuren (The Last Traces) – which you began in your time at Solitude – in which you set out to follow the traces of your grandfathers and will travel to Russia and Belarus for, where both lie buried?
AS: My grandfathers were common Wehrmacht soldiers. But it is a historical fact that the Wehrmacht was also involved in the atrocities of the SS and that they were also responsible, as was often denied. Whether my grandfathers were part of these things, I don’t know. I can try to understand which battles they were at, which places they were in, but I can’t find much out about their thoughts and what went through their heads.
The question of responsibility however plays a role since the topic stays with me constantly as a German with German ancestors.
CH: You are the questioning granddaughter in Die letzten Spuren – the subject of the inherited trauma of war also interests you, itself a very current topic.
AS: I think you have to be careful not to overpsychologize, but there is an element of truth to it. Certain fears which are passed on, feelings of guilt, fear of loss, existential fears. My mother, a child refugee, still to this day has irrational fears. War refugees from the former eastern territories were second class citizens in the Federal Republic of Germany. My mother’s self-image was shaped by this. To not be welcome and to be treated as inferior. She always strived not to draw attention to herself and to be recognized by society. These things played a big role for us at home.
My current projects however are predominantly about the war generation, that is my grandparents’ generation. It’s this merciless generation – merciless with themselves and especially with other people – whom I want to ask something, from whom I want answers. Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of answers anymore. At thirty, I was at a point where I started to ask questions. But my grandmother was already long dead by then. She probably wouldn’t have told me much anyway.
CH: How are you planning the journey to the graves of your grandfathers? How will you tell the story?
AS: The graves are about 1000km apart in Russia and Belarus. It will either be a cinematic travel log, a web documentary, or an essay film. The format will become clear from further research.
CH: This year appears to be an exciting year with many new topics and projects. What are all the things that are happening?
AS: This year is for me somewhat different. The filmWinterjagd is a big challenge. With Die letzten Spuren, I’m dealing with a personal subject for the first time. I want to try out a few new narrative forms. I can’t rest with one thing that works. That would be like a standstill for me.