“Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”

They speak of a loss of trust, a persistent feeling of worthlessness, and are deeply shaken for years afterwards. We accompany three victims on an intense journey to places of their childhood as they recount their experiences and memories. We are with them in the basement where the uncle raised his arm to strike the blow. We see their tears when they speak of the last beating. We are speechless when they remember the repetition of rituals with riding whips, bloody welts and humiliation. A chorus of voices, many people from different generations, remembers and adds to the experiences of Tilman, Helga, and Lutz. All of them have vowed never to beat their own children. They all know that the old saying, one which people still like to repeat, “a spanking never hurt anyone” is not true. The kids of beatings which were normal in German homes and schools for a long time, always hurt. Some gained strength by rebelling against the blows. Others still feel as small and worthless as ever. The experience changed them all. In a documentary, we show the historical dimensions of this tradition of child-raising. In a film for Tag7, we focus on the emotional component.

Broadcast date:30. Oktober 2015 23:15 im WDR; Erstausstrahlung 07.4.2014 23:30 ARD
Written and directed by:Erika Fehse
Editorial advisor:Gudrun Wolter (Geschichte)
Production:Ulrike Römhild
Line producer:Anke Meyer
Producer:Martina Sprengel
Executive producer:Harmut Klenke
Filming location:Bonn, Ensheim, Essen, Hamburg, Köln, Leipzig, Saarbrücken, Thalfang, Wiesbaden