Videofilm about the Sailors' Revolt in Kiel 1918

The authors are currently updating the film. I will be available in 2018.

German videofilm with time witnesses: "Kiel schreibt Geschichte - Matrosenaufstand im November 1918". 60 minutes, VHS or DVD.

By Klaus Kuhl, Kiel 1991

See a small part of the videofilm:
Interview with Julius Bredenbek (*.wmv) then a memeber of the workers' youth
(1,3 Minuten; 3,5 MB)
To start the clip please click on the photo.

The complete interview and a CV can be found here >>
For individual or scientific use only.


Translated text of the video clip:
Kuhl: The soldier’s council (Soldatenrat) sent delegations to Berlin repeatedly to see Noske and protest against measures downsizing their authority. From your memory, did the workers support this protest?
Bredenbek: Yes, partly. But the larger part was too tired politically, as well as too little developed to comprehend the situation. People wanted to see the war and the consequences of the war eliminated by all means, they wanted order in the country. How we assess this nowadays is a different thing, but this was the overall situation. Tiredness of the war, rejection of the old political powers, yes, but there was no readiness to do something constructively for it. “This will be done by those on top,” was a common saying also among the organised workers, “they will do it allright.”
Kuhl: Could have loyalty against the party leadership also played a part?
Bredenbek: Partly also. One could almost say even a certain implicit obedience against party respective trade union. That’s obvious.

The acompanying brochure for the videofilm can be downloaded here (private use only): >>

A first version of this film has been produced under the title "Der Zündfunke" by Kay Gerdes for the Medienpädagogik am Kieler Kulturzentrum "Pumpe". More information: >>

Evaluation of the film: The film was created in 1991 in Umatic and 2005 converted to DVD format. Because of the long storage of the master tape, unfortunately some tone fluctuations occurred. In addition, the DVD includes some false statements / representations (these have been identified and corrected in the accompanying booklet) and factual representations are mixed with comments. For these reasons, a new edition is being prepared which will be released in 2018. In the literature legacy of Dirk Dähnhardt, which was kindly provided by his wife Ursula Dähnhardt, there was an evaluation of the film, which comes to a similar conclusion. A copy of the document that could probably have been created in the early 1990s, is available here (pdf): >>

Other interesting films (German only):

  • NDR/ARTE, script-author and producer Jens Becker (probably Nov. 2018): "Novembersturm", ca. 90 minutes.
    Karl Artelt, acted by Lucas Prisor is the main figure. The film will illustrate the revolution in Kiel by a fictitious plot, which is nevertheless close to the real events.
  • Kai Zimmer (Nov. 2012): "Revolution 18", German, 25 min., 16:9, colour and b/w.
    An experimental documentation, which presents the time between August 1917 and November 1918 from the perspective of the diary records of the engineer Nicolaus Andersen. Andersen worked at the Germania ship yard in Kiel.
  • WDR (5.1.1975): „War Opa revolutionär?“ von Stefan Bartmann und Karl Mertes, wiss. Beratung Imanuel Geiss
    Sendung zum Schülerwettbewerb im Rahmen des Gustav-Heinemann Preises. Contains interviews mit Lothar Popp and Gertrud Völcker.
  • WDR (1986): „Augenzeugen berichten über die Marineunruhen 1917/18“ von Wolfgang Semmelroth und Claus-Ferdinand Siegfried (Regie), ca. 44 Min.
    Contains many interesting interviews among others also with Julius Bredenbek
  • NDR (1.11.1978): "Matrosen, Räte, Republiken", von Hartmut Idzko und Jörg Knickrehm, ca. 23 Minuten
    Contains several statements from Lothar Popp
  • DEFA (1958): "Das Lied der Matrosen", Regie Kurt Maetzig, 126 Min., sw
    Produced in GDR (German Democratic Republic) >>
  • 1968: "November-Verbrecher", 85 Min., Lichtton, sw, D; this film may be borrowed from German Stadtbildstellen.
    In reportage-like, fiktive interviews with historical persons this film sheds light upon the incidences of those November days. Discussions and negotiations are retraced in form of talks with representatives of the Government, of the Reichstag (parliament), the top military command, with soldiers and journalists. Their statements are based on historical files, minutes, speeches, diaries and similar material.

Update 23 Oct. 2017

  • Interview with one of the leaders: Lothar Popp >>
  • CV L. Popp >>
  • Recollections of the other leader: Karl Artelt >>
  • CV K. Artelt >>
  • Additional temporary witnesses >>
  • Films about the revolt >>
  • Evaluations >>
  • Timeline >>
  • Virtual sightseeing tour >>
  • Commentary >>