Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

German

Major Professor

Maria Stehle

Committee Members

Stefanie Ohnesorg, Daniel Magilow

Abstract

In this thesis I examine the cinematic and literary portrayal of victims during the hijacking of the Lufthansa plane, Landshut by Palestinian terrorists in October 1977. I discuss the book, Mogadischu Fensterplatz by the German author Friedrich Christian Delius and two films, the docudrama Todesspiel by the director Heinrich Breloer, and the film Mogadischu by the director Roland Suso Richter.

The study compares and contrasts alternate means of portraying the plight of the hijacking victims through different forms of media. Mogadischu Fensterplatz is a book whose text comprises a single victim’s personal narrative. The backbone of Todesspiel is a chronology of photographs from the event in whose temporal interstices, the intervening events are reenacted. Each reenactment is punctuated by victims’ personal accounts of the depicted events. Mogadischu is a fully dramatic and poignant portrayal of the hijacking. This study examines, in particular, the various representations of the victims’ perceived relationships between their bodies and minds, the experience of being held prisoner, and the historical relationship between the cultures involved in the hijacking.

Whereas the written piece by Delius is told from a perspective that sympathizes with the individuals involved in the incident, eliminating the distinction between victim and perpetrator and viewing all involved parties as victims of circumstance, the film pieces are less sympathetic, portraying the liberation as a triumph of post-war Germany over the left-wing terrorism of the 1970s, viewing the perpetrators only by their collective identity.

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