Our colleagues from feuerrader.pl conducted an interview with Pomerania 1945, a Polish historical reconstruction association, which participated in the shooting of the Deutschland video. The interview is available here in Polish, English and German.
It was January, the weather was bad, I was driving somewhere by car and the phone rang. The screen showed: Albert Neumann P1945. With Albert, we've known each other for years and our groups, namely Die Freiwilligen and Pomerania 1945, work quite closely together.
- Dietmar? I heard in the phone.
- Listen, I have a tip from a friend in Germany and there is a chance to play in a music video, the video is being shot in Berlin in two weeks for a well-known rock band from Germany… 8 people from your group are needed.
- Which band?
- I can't tell you…
- C'mon Albert, just tell me, if it's a band beginning with "R"?
- Don't tell anyone, nobody! Because I'll rip your head off and nothing will come out of it! The rest will find out when they're on a bus.
- We're going!
The rest of the events unfolded quickly, earlier plans, arrangements, holidays, family parties, etc. - everything ceased to have any meaning and was thrown out of ourcalendars. Six of us: Dietmar Kuptz, Rene Grzenkowicz, Szymon Poredo, Thomass Woerle, Tomasz Wylamowski and Arkadiusz Telak decided in a few seconds - we're going. From Pomerania 1945 present were Albert Neumann, Francesco Giacomelli, Jan Majewski, Szymon Szewczyk, Henryk Kaźmierczak and Bogumił Gierlotke. First we travelled to Poznań, where it was confirmed that the music video was indeed for Rammstein. Then we travelled further, to the unforgettable Amadeus hotel in Berlin. We were taken by a bus arranged by the film crew. I do not need to add that we were integrating with the only sounds appropriate for such a trip, and the most often repeated sentence was: "I wonder what the video will be about". We did not know what to take with us when it comes to the equipment, so we took everything. For some, it meant taking some large bags and suitcases full of uniforms and props out of the house.
On the set (first day the filming took place in the ruins of a monastery) we went early in the morning and quite quickly understood why filming is considered so exhausting: it means waiting, waiting and even more waiting. After many hours we finally got a message – dress up. Initially, we thought that we would play only German soldiers - we were prepared for that - but we learned quite quickly, that if we want, we can play completely different roles and characters. And here we experienced the first shock: it turned out, that the movie will include medieval monks, Polizei special forces, medieval knights, DDR era uniforms… That's all we saw, being on the set and changing costumes. The question remained, how (and if) the band puts it together in a sensible whole. We had various theories: maybe it will be a narcotic vision of someone who mentions the past, maybe deathbed memories of a passing life, thoughts and hallucinations of a dying soldier…
The black beauty was equally mysterious – first we saw her in the knight's armor, which in itself provoked questions. "Are we making a fantasy movie?" Our suitcases still contained German uniforms from the Second World War.
We worked until late night. In addition to the scenes in the old monastery (we played the role of monks), we also took part in scenes in a real, now closed prison in the center of Berlin (the role of rebellious prisoners). I must say that the prison scenes were quite exciting and they gave much joy at the same time. Thus, when we returned to the hotel in the morning, we were frozen and very tired - just like the members of the band, who were on set until the very end.
Next day in the morning we herad that men in SS uniforms are needed, we changed our clothes into the WW2 ones and marched on with the film crew to the military beat: Links! Links! Links! You would have to see Till Lindemann's face expression as he saw us marching in full uniforms… The set was located in an abandoned factory and here another comes another curiosity - those of us who knew the previous activity of the director of the video (Specter), knew he was the founder of Aggro Berlin label, immediately recognized this characteristic place with the music videos of German rappers such as SIDO, FLER or B-TIGHT.
After a while, we experienced a real shock. In the middle of the square, where the movie set was located, there was a gallow with four loops. When one of our colleagues saw that, said out loud what everyone thought: "I've been in reconstruction for years, I've been on many stagings, but it was never THAT hardcore." At the time, while filming the hanging hscenes, we did not know what role they would play in the whole video, but we knew one thing - nothing is simple and unambiguous in Rammstein's work. We could be sure that this is a controversial provocation, which ultimate goal was to force the viewer to think about the scenes he had watched, but we still had no idea in which context the scenes that were so brutal and that showed the worst moments of German history would be used. During the shooting of those scenes, we got a bit closer to the band - it was cold, so during the breaks and while warming hands at the fireplace, Till offered everyone… Absolut vodka. The fire - and the firery water - bring people closer… This was also the case this time. Thanks to such small gestures, we will remember the work on the set as an amazing experience. The members of the band behaved like ordinary people, they were even slightly annoyed by their harassing assistants. It turned out that the recordings will not end in the announced two days, and will be continued until late night. However, it was time for us to go home. The bus engine was warming up. Some of the colleagues, including the guys from Pomerania, stayed on the final recordings. They were shooting pictures of a big battle, on a huge battlefield, burning at the stake and riots in unspecified time in one of the German cities. In the night, when burning bus was glowing (scene from the riots), about 3AM in the morning, Specter shouted "We got this, thank you everyone!", people shouted, cheering and rewarded the team with an applause. Both the film crew and the team thanked the participants with a handshake, in person! Before we left, we looked around looking for the band members. When the vocalist Till Lindemann passed us, we were speechless, he was dressed in knight's armor, pierced with a few swords - his look combined with fatigue on his face made an electrifying impression on us. We got autographs, wishes for safe travel and we went home in a messy way, in fact, we do not really believe in what we've experienced in the last two days.
While going to the set, we were quite confused and didn't know what to expect, on the way back we were completely lost. How do we put everything together? What is the meaning of all this? We tried to make various hypotheses, referring to the song "Deutschland" which was released played several times on the set (yes, we heard the song already in January), but still we could 't come up with a coherent story. We had to wait until the premiere.
The atmosphere became dense a few days earlier when the band released the teaser into the scene - as it turned out later, that was closing the 9-minute music video. As you know, the media heated up, Rammstein was accused of ridiculing the Holocaust, disrespecting the historical approach, and even insulting the memory of the victims. On March 28 at 18.10, after watching the music video, everything became clear. The band once again used people's tendency to generalize and reproduce stereotypes. The video turned out to be a unique depiction of the German history, a country which the lyrical subject "cannot give his love" - among other things due to the difficult past of the homeland. We won't hide that most of our colleagues are die-hard Rammstein fans, and the participation in the recording for "Deutschland" music video was the greatest adventure in our lives! We built a monument for the rest of our lives, and even posthumously… It was a nice surprise to see our names in the final credits of the music video. In addition to our two groups, the music featured our colleagues from historical re-enactment groups: Dragoner, Bellum, Maienburg152IR, Rogatywka 1918-1939 and Erhard M17. They played the role of soldiers of the imperial German army from the First World War.