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Naked Among Wolves (1963)

Erwin Geschonneck , Armin Mueller-Stahl , Frank Beyer  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Erwin Geschonneck, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Krystyn Wójcik, Fred Delmare, Viktor Avdyushko
  • Directors: Frank Beyer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: December 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,832 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Naked Among Wolves" on IMDb

Special Features

  • English and German menus
  • About the film
  • Biographies and filmographies
  • Historical context: Newsreels, essays
  • DVD preview: Verdict on Auschwitz
  • About hte DEFA Film Library
  • Photo gallery
  • Original trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jankowski, a Polish prisoner from Auschwitz, arrives at the Buchenwald concentration camp hiding a little boy inside a suitcase. When the prisoners and members of the camp's covert resistance group discover the boy, his innocence moves many, yet his possible discovery by the camp guards threatens them all. NAKED AMONG WOLVES stars Academy Award Nominee Armin Mueller-Stahl (Shine, Avalon, Music Box, Utz) in one of his first film roles. Based on the novel by Buchenwald survivor Bruno Apitz, this was the first German film about life and death in a concentration camp.


A powerful narrative of the last weeks at Buchenwald, before its liberation. Novel approach, magnificently photographed, and a high all-round standard of acting. --Variety

A stunning performance by the young Armin Mueller-Stahl. --Leeds Int'l Film Festival

One of the most powerful and accomplished anti-fascist films produced in East Germany. --Vancouver Pacific Cinematheque

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This movie is absolutely riveting from start to finish. It is based on a true story of how a group of prisoners in the camp go to extreme risks to protect a three year old Polish Jewish boy [smuggled in a valise and who had escaped extermination in Auschwitz] from the Nazis and certain death in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Besides facing problems in keeping the boy hidden, the prisoners involved , many of whom are members of the communist resistance are also grappling with the issue of armed resistance and how they are going to go about it. The Nazis in charge of the camp suspect something is afoot and try to find the identities of the ringleaders of the resistance, whilst at the same time fearing the advancing Allied forces and what that means for them.

The acting is amazing, and the cast of characters, with familiar names like Armin Mueller Stahl as Hovel, a member of the communist resistance,do a good job of credibly portraying the various characters. The Nazis are also well-portrayed from the two officers who are evil incarnate, bent on finding the little boy and exterminating him, as well as killing off as many prisoners before they retreat, these roles are well done indeed.

Besides the main drama of keeping the boy hidden and organising the uprising against the Nazis, not much else os portrayed about the camp. Buchenwald may not be as infamous as Auschwitz, Majdanek or Dachau, but it was a grim place in its own right. It was the scene of mass murder and also medical experiments. And its history after liberation wasn't exactly a happy ending as Buchenwald was used by the Russians to house Nazi war criminals and also dissenters of the Stalinist regime.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look! February 25, 2007
By nyctc7
For historical significance this movie deserves more than 3 stars, but one should rate movies based on how much one actually liked the movie, thus my 3-star rating. (This still means I liked and recommend the movie!) I watched this after seeing Frank Beyer's "Jakob the Liar," and I think "Naked Among Wolves" is the better film. One of my nit-picks with these films is that the harshness and brutality of life in the ghetto or concentration camp is not fully revealed. The films are products of their times, I suppose. And one cannot make actors look like skeletons. The most brutal portrayl of the holocaust I have seen (in a non-documentary) is in the TV mini-series "War and Remembrance." Neither of Beyer's films comes close. Again, I'm sure that there was so much an East German film director in the 1960's and 70's could do. That criticism out of the way, I think that "Naked Among Wolves" is a fine film with interesting characters and performances.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars buchenwald -the last days November 28, 2007
This is a ture story although told from the communist view. the child in the movie is now 71 and lives in Israel. He was the subject of an interview published in Jewish Week or the the Jewish Forward. What I found surprising was that German communists were in the camp for as long as 11 years-meaning they were incarcerated in 1934. Jewish prisoners were shipped to auschwitz once the war was on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Naked Among Wolves" is noteworthy from a historical perspective as it was the first German film to deal directly with life inside a concentration camp. In 1963, the topic was still a sensitive one--but the film puts you front and center in a story of desperation and survival in the last days of the war. A small child is secretly brought into Buchenwald and members of the resistance (including a young Armin Mueller-Stahl) struggle with the practicalities of what to do with him. Putting the movement at risk as well as their lives, they try to keep the boy hidden. But a corrupt camp official has plans of his own as he charts an end game with the Americans fast approaching. The film is very well acted by a large ensemble and constructed almost as a morality play with life and death consequences. For contemporary audiences, the film might not dig into the camp atrocities as horrifically as later films have--but, really, that's to be expected. It still makes the unnerving sense of danger palpable even if it's not very explicit. Heartfelt, powerful, and suspenseful--a strong and important film! KGHarris, 6/11.
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Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although this movie is based on a real life situation about a father who hid his 2 1/2 year old son in a sack and smuggled him inside the concentration where he was sent, this movie does not seem to portray it as well as the written story about this Jewish man and his son. The movie does not include the mother who was sent to Bergen Belsen. In the end, the father and son survived Buchenwald and learned that the wife had survived the holocaust too.
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