The lost honour of the Katharina Bluem

the lost honour of the Katharina Bluem or like force to develop and where it can lead is a narration by Heinrich Boell, filmed from peoples Schlöndorff. It is 1974 first in the week magazine of the mirrors, then in the Kiepenheuer & Witsch - publishing house appeared. Boell processes therein among other things his experiences of a rushing campaign of the picture newspaper against him, after he had demanded at the beginning of the 1970er years a material opposite press report refunding the RAF. The narration is a contribution for the force debate of the 1970er years. Beside the physical force, the force of weapons, as well as the “Gewalten, which are appropriate for Boell on the bank”, place here the force of words, the force of headlines, which he had to experience at the own body (“Boell are more dangerous than Baader Meinhof. “). In October 1974 Boell in an interview explained: “The force of words can be worse sometimes than by slaps and pistols.” In the narration by the example of the normal citizen Katharina Bluem the misuse of power of the boulevard press is denounced. Literarily a proximity is present to Friedrich Schillers of the criminals from lost honour .

Table of contents

contents of

short description

in the evening woman nearly night ago of the yearly 1974 organizes Else Woltersheim, which godfather aunt of the title figure, a Karnevalsfeier, to which also the lady housekeeper Katharina Bluem and the Ludwig Götten looked for because of murder with robbery come. The 27 years old Katharina falls in love neck over head with the big criminal, without knowing about its acts. They spend together the night in Katharinas dwelling. On the next day the police, which beschattet Götten, storms the building. When this finds only the young woman, because Katharina had help Götten at the night to the escape, she is provisionally arrested by the determining Kriminalkommissar Beizmenne.

The newspaper (an allusion on the picture published by the Axel Springer publishing house) treats the case in detail and puts Katharina as heavy criminal and “Flittchen”. It stated, Katharina knew and brings Götten already for years, occasional “gentleman attendance” with meetings and Orgien of criminal ones in connection. In searches and interviews the newspaper rotates statements of persons, who know Katharina, in order to let it appear in a bad light. Young woman the socially fully integrated at the beginning becomes in such a way a despised Aussenseiterin.

When Werner Tötges, a journalist of the newspaper, Katharinas visits ill nut/mother in the hospital and it confronted with the reproaches against its daughter, this dies at the night. At the same night also Ludwig Götten in the country house is arrested by Alois Sträubleder, to which Katharina had a key. Katharina Bluem despairs of its situation and murders with an interview the journalist Tötges. After Herumirren for hours in the city it places and arrests itself.


film data
of German titles: {{{DT}}}
original titles: The lost honour of the Katharina Bluem
production country: Germany
feature year: 1975
length (PAL - DVD): 100 minutes
of source language: German
age release: FSK 16
direction: Peoples Schlöndorff
Margarethe of Trotta
film script: Heinrich Boell
peoples Schlöndorff
Margarethe of Trotta
production: Willi Benninger
music: Hans's Werner Henze
camera: Jost Vacano
cut: Peter Przygodda


the narration was worked on for the theatre and filmed 1975 by peoples Schlöndorff and Margarethe of Trotta in a 102 minutes long film. Music: Hans's Werner Henze.


the financing 1.7 million DM of the expensive film came off as follows: 500,000 DM the WDR , to 500,000 DM a Koproduktion of Paramount Orion, paid 300,000 DM a high loan of the institute for film promotion (it by the bringing in result one paid back). The still which is missing amount of approximately 400,000 DM was settled by the producer (self-participation).

The film celebrated to 10. October 1975 premiere in nine cinemas of the Federal Republic of Germany and became for the first time to 18. May 1978 shown in the pool of broadcasting corporations. At the beginning of of October 1975 was shown the film on the New Yorker Filmfestival and came afterwards in other cinemas of the United States. 1977 it ran into 30 Muscovites Filmtheatern, afterwards in (nearly) all large cities of the Soviet Union.

It is to be still mentioned that the film has another end than Boell's novel. While the book ends with the arrest Katharina Bluem, the funeral of the shot journalist is to be finally seen in the film. A special irony lies in the fact that in (of Heinrich Boell wrote) the grave speech the boss of the publishing house, which publishes the NEWSPAPER, which act Katharina Bluem as “attack on the Pressefreiheit” designation and one explains that one must work against such attacks in the future more strongly. The effect of the Boell manuscript should be in this way still strengthened.


of the filming a multiplicity of honors was lent, among other things:

Angela Winkler received the following prices:

  • Film volume in gold (Federal film award)
  • critic price 1975 of the section representation of the title figure

Jost Vacano received the film volume in gold (Federal film award) as a cameraman likewise.

treatment of stages and opera

Margarethe of Trotta the piece specified after the narration of Heinrich Boell at the workshop stage Bonn city theatres in May 1976.

Contrary to the film (s.o.) this Rezeption got however substantially more negative criticisms.

To 20. April 1991 became at the city theatre Bielefeld Tilo Medeks Katharina Bluem. Opera in five days and a sequel uraufgeführt. The libretto comes from Dorothea Medek, the wife of the composer. The echo of the criticism was predominantly negative.


the text of the narration is present as dtv paperback.

research literature

  • Werner Bell man: Heinrich Boell. The lost honour of the Katharina Bluem. In: Narrations 20. Century. Interpretations. Bd. 2. Reclam, Stuttgart 1996. S. 183-204. ISBN 3-15-009463-1
  • Werner Bell man / Christine Hummel: Heinrich Boell, the lost honour of the Katharina Bluem. Explanations and documents. Reclam, Stuttgart 1999. [That volume contains also information and documents to Schlöndorffs film and to Medeks opera, furthermore detailed literature data] ISBN 3-15-016011-1
  • Beth, Hanno: Character assassination and murder: the journalistic dimension of the force. To Heinrich Boell narration the lost honour of the Katharina Bluem. In: Hanno Beth (Hrsg.): Heinrich Boell. An introduction to the complete work to single interpretations. 2. , over work. Aufl. King stone (Ts.) 1980. S. 69-95.
  • Scheiffele, Eberhard: Critical language analysis in Heinrich Boell the lost honour of the Katharina Bluem. In: Basis. Yearbook for German present literature 9 (1979) S. 169-187 and 268f.

There are a great many German as well as English-language research literature to Boell's work; it to call, blows up the framework.

Besides there is an intensive journalistic Rezeption; to call criticisms are particularly in the news magazine of the mirrors and in various newspapers Ruhr district area.

Last end exists also still another lot of didactically oriented publications; it concerns to a large extent summaries of other (research) literature, which are partially quite worth reading.

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