• en
  • de


  • Adolf Hennecke — Hero of the Battle of Production


    Konrad Wakolbinger

    Where labour and the heroic merge: the glorification of labour in real socialism.

    Zen­tral­fried­hof; in Stein gehauen
    Tausende von Namen
    die niemand mehr ausspricht.
    Sie sollen uns mahnen, steht da.
    Was schulden wir ihnen
    und wie viel?
    Mahngebühr
    Friedhofsgebühr.
    Plötzlich ein Bekannter.
    Seine koh­le­ver­staub­te Lunge gebettet
    zu ewiger Ruhe in schwarzer Erde
    an einer wenig zentralen Wegesecke
    unser Held Adolf Hennecke.

     

    When the GDR punk band “Spec­ta­tors of Suicide” in their song “Working Class Suicide oder Der Gute Adolf” (1986) accused the real socialist labour religion of causing the death of thousands, it is inte­res­ting that they also sang about Adolf Hennecke.

    The miner Hennecke was for the GDR (German Demo­cra­tic Republic) what Alexei Gri­go­rie­vich Stan­cha­nov stood for in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics): the central pro­pa­gan­da figure calling on the working people to increase their pro­duc­ti­vi­ty. The “Hennecke Movement” was a group of activists who, following his example, sought to out­per­form and establish a new work ethic.

    Adolf Hennecke estab­lis­hed his fame when, in October 1948, in a carefully prepared shift and with the help of the other miners, he extracted 387 percent more coal from the seam than the amount required. For this over-achie­ve­ment he was cele­bra­ted, rewarded, awarded the highest medals and finally appointed to the Central Committee of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany).

    However, Hennecke initially refused the invi­ta­ti­on to become an exponent for the campaign to increase labour output. He suspected that he would be mobbed by his comrades as a “norm-breaker”. His car was set on fire and the windows of his house smashed, but he also received baskets of fan mail. These extreme reactions refer on the one hand to Hennecke’s exposure as a “hero of labour” and on the other hand they represent the societal forces at play in the German Demo­cra­tic Republic.

    Historian Silke Satjukow, who rese­ar­ches socialist heroes, is convinced that all societies need heroes to reassure them­sel­ves, because heroes embody the extra-ordinary, they win decisive battles. What is specific to the heroes of labour, they also extend into everyday life. They say: All it takes is “more of the same” and you will also be special. Silke Satjukow: “Heroes and saints are very close. Both have the task of trans­por­ting norms and morals.”

    Hennecke’s achie­ve­ment and exemplary work ethic are also cele­bra­ted in “Der Weg nach oben” (The way to the top, 1950), the official docu­men­ta­ry film for the 1st anni­ver­s­a­ry of the GDR. Con­tra­ri­wi­se, we meet a later musician of the Spec­ta­tors of Suicide as a pupil in a GDR edu­ca­tio­nal film for future teachers, “Eltern­haus, Betrieb und Schule” (Home, Work and Education, no date).

    The film shows us the strictly organised and con­trol­led life Gisela, a pupil. We first see her and her class­ma­tes filing metal parts and working on sheet metal. The subject “Pro­duc­ti­ve Work” is part of the modular project lessons. What PW meant for the pupils was doing work assign­ments in indus­tri­al companies under pro­duc­tion-related con­di­ti­ons, sometimes they were also directly employed in the pro­duc­tion of goods. In the afternoon, Gisela is helping her mother with the laundry when a visitor, a teacher or social worker, goes to convince her parents to allow their daughter to continue her education and also to become more involved within the school community. In the long dialogue scenes, Gisela can be seen silently in the back­ground scouring pieces of laundry in the tub.

    As a reaction to a society in which ever­ything revolves around work in both the objective and ideal sense, the “Spec­ta­tors of Suicide” branded them­sel­ves as anti-heroes and asked whether they owed anything to the “norm workers”. Well, they did call for a warning to be printed on every payroll card: “Work puts your health at risk and can increase suicidal tendencies.”

    Sources:
    Rainer Gries, Silke Satjukow: Von Menschen und Übermenschen
    [On Humans and Superhumans].
    https://www.bpb.de/apuz/26965/von-menschen-und-uebermenschen

     

    "The Way to the Top" - official documentary on the 1st anniversary of the GDR 1950 - (Adolf Hennecke from 17:47 min) 

    “Home, Work and Education” The training film for teachers in training in the GDR (from 1:18 min with sound) shows the modular project lessons including the subject "Productive Work" and the visit of a teacher or social worker to the parents of the protagonist. 

    Spectators of Suicide "Hanging Around" 

    Hennecke am Podium

    Tags

    Adolf Hennecke — Hero of the Battle of Production

    Konrad Wakolbinger

    Where labour and the heroic merge: the glorification of labour in real socialism.

    Zen­tral­fried­hof; in Stein gehauen
    Tausende von Namen
    die niemand mehr ausspricht.
    Sie sollen uns mahnen, steht da.
    Was schulden wir ihnen
    und wie viel?
    Mahngebühr
    Friedhofsgebühr.
    Plötzlich ein Bekannter.
    Seine koh­le­ver­staub­te Lunge gebettet
    zu ewiger Ruhe in schwarzer Erde
    an einer wenig zentralen Wegesecke
    unser Held Adolf Hennecke.

     

    When the GDR punk band “Spec­ta­tors of Suicide” in their song “Working Class Suicide oder Der Gute Adolf” (1986) accused the real socialist labour religion of causing the death of thousands, it is inte­res­ting that they also sang about Adolf Hennecke.

    The miner Hennecke was for the GDR (German Demo­cra­tic Republic) what Alexei Gri­go­rie­vich Stan­cha­nov stood for in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics): the central pro­pa­gan­da figure calling on the working people to increase their pro­duc­ti­vi­ty. The “Hennecke Movement” was a group of activists who, following his example, sought to out­per­form and establish a new work ethic.

    Adolf Hennecke estab­lis­hed his fame when, in October 1948, in a carefully prepared shift and with the help of the other miners, he extracted 387 percent more coal from the seam than the amount required. For this over-achie­ve­ment he was cele­bra­ted, rewarded, awarded the highest medals and finally appointed to the Central Committee of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany).

    However, Hennecke initially refused the invi­ta­ti­on to become an exponent for the campaign to increase labour output. He suspected that he would be mobbed by his comrades as a “norm-breaker”. His car was set on fire and the windows of his house smashed, but he also received baskets of fan mail. These extreme reactions refer on the one hand to Hennecke’s exposure as a “hero of labour” and on the other hand they represent the societal forces at play in the German Demo­cra­tic Republic.

    Historian Silke Satjukow, who rese­ar­ches socialist heroes, is convinced that all societies need heroes to reassure them­sel­ves, because heroes embody the extra-ordinary, they win decisive battles. What is specific to the heroes of labour, they also extend into everyday life. They say: All it takes is “more of the same” and you will also be special. Silke Satjukow: “Heroes and saints are very close. Both have the task of trans­por­ting norms and morals.”

    Hennecke’s achie­ve­ment and exemplary work ethic are also cele­bra­ted in “Der Weg nach oben” (The way to the top, 1950), the official docu­men­ta­ry film for the 1st anni­ver­s­a­ry of the GDR. Con­tra­ri­wi­se, we meet a later musician of the Spec­ta­tors of Suicide as a pupil in a GDR edu­ca­tio­nal film for future teachers, “Eltern­haus, Betrieb und Schule” (Home, Work and Education, no date).

    The film shows us the strictly organised and con­trol­led life Gisela, a pupil. We first see her and her class­ma­tes filing metal parts and working on sheet metal. The subject “Pro­duc­ti­ve Work” is part of the modular project lessons. What PW meant for the pupils was doing work assign­ments in indus­tri­al companies under pro­duc­tion-related con­di­ti­ons, sometimes they were also directly employed in the pro­duc­tion of goods. In the afternoon, Gisela is helping her mother with the laundry when a visitor, a teacher or social worker, goes to convince her parents to allow their daughter to continue her education and also to become more involved within the school community. In the long dialogue scenes, Gisela can be seen silently in the back­ground scouring pieces of laundry in the tub.

    As a reaction to a society in which ever­ything revolves around work in both the objective and ideal sense, the “Spec­ta­tors of Suicide” branded them­sel­ves as anti-heroes and asked whether they owed anything to the “norm workers”. Well, they did call for a warning to be printed on every payroll card: “Work puts your health at risk and can increase suicidal tendencies.”

    Sources:
    Rainer Gries, Silke Satjukow: Von Menschen und Übermenschen
    [On Humans and Superhumans].
    https://www.bpb.de/apuz/26965/von-menschen-und-uebermenschen

     

    "The Way to the Top" - official documentary on the 1st anniversary of the GDR 1950 - (Adolf Hennecke from 17:47 min)

    “Home, Work and Education” The training film for teachers in training in the GDR (from 1:18 min with sound) shows the modular project lessons including the subject "Productive Work" and the visit of a teacher or social worker to the parents of the protagonist.

    Spectators of Suicide "Hanging Around"

    Hennecke am Podium

    Tags


    Finding and Cultivating the Self in Hair: On the Wizardry of Hairdressers

    Finding and Cul­ti­vat­ing the Self in Hair: On the Wizardry of Hairdressers

    The key to successfully creating a hairstyle is, of course, the hairdresser's skill. But the art of hair is not limited to instrumental skills, it also includes the 'culturality' of hair. A contemporary critique of a traditional profession.

    The baker's routine gestures: a professional ‘classic’?

    The baker’s routine gestures: a pro­fes­sio­nal ‘classic’?

    In contemporary cinema, we often don’t question seemingly cliché images of bakers at work as seen in Antoine Fontaine's "Gemma Bovery" (2014) or Luke Jin's short film "La Boulangerie" (2017), but perhaps we should.

    Essential Workers vs. Bullshit Jobs

    Essential Workers vs. Bullshit Jobs

    How will the Covid-19 pandemic change the world of work? Will essential workers be more valued in the future or will ‘bullshit’ jobs continue to increase?  

    Plea for autochthone education systems

    Plea for auto­chtho­ne education systems

    'In my blood it runs' (2019) is an intimate portrait of an Aboriginal boy and his family, as well as testimony to the glaring shortcomings of the Australian education system in dealing with their indigenous population.

    Efficiency kills

    Effi­ci­en­cy kills

    US economist William J. Baumol found out why the efficiency principle is killing the service sector - and ultimately contributing to the COVID-19 mortality rate.

    The unsung sing

    The unsung sing

    In the second part of his trilogy about people in unsung professions, "Secondo Me" (2016), Pavel Cuzuioc accompanies three cloakroom attendants at three European opera houses and welcomes the everyday to stage.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 20


    About this blog

    By selecting a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. They are both based in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their cor­re­spon­ding articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.

    About this blog

    With picking a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. We both work in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their respec­ti­ve articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.