Example: Evaluation of the educational work with DER BALKON at the Herrmann-Gmeiner-Realschule:

(Realschule: secondary modern school):

Here the complete text:

AG: Educational work with the film THE BALCONY
Lars Limbach, Hermann-Gmeiner-Realschule plus in Daaden (Rheinland Pfalz/Rhineland-Palatinate)

The Balcony – Wehrmacht Crimes in Greece

Guideline for oral or written feedback on the work with the film by teachers and other educators
Date: 17.1.2021 Location: Daaden Institution: Realschule plus (integrative)

1. In which context did you show the film?

The film was shown in the classes 10A and 10B and made available to parts of the Peace Education History Working Group (grades 9 and 10 combined). In class 10A, the film was discussed as part of the history lesson. Since the class was dealing with the course of World War II, I was able to embed the film well. In class 10B, the film was dealt with as part of the ethics lesson. Lesson: War and Peace (Respect for Life).

2. What response to the film did you perceive among the young people?

The response in a.ll groups was a high degree of consternation and compassion. But pubils were also furiously angry about what the German perpetrators had done to the people in Lyngiades and the fact that no one was prosecuted for it. The partly very emotional reactions were caused by:

  • the original tape recordings,
  • the reports of the survivors,
  • gestures and facial expressions of the contemporary witnesses,
  • the reaction of the „next“ generation (children of the contemporary witnesses/victims),
  • the very vividly described gruel fates of the victims.

(Many students had tears in their eyes after the screening and were speechless at first).

Two of my students felt strongly reminded of their own destiny, as they had to witness similar scenes in Syria during an attack on their own city.

  • However, many students were also surprised at the little known information about what happened in Greece between 1941-1943. „I’ve never heard of it, and much less I never saw a documentary about the German occupation in World War II.“ „It’s missing in the history book. It should be included.“; „Why don’t people make this part of our history more public?“ „We have been to Greece many times, but I haven’t noticed any traces of World War II there.“ „What at all were we even doing in Greece at that time anyway?“

Such were the first expressions.

The first impressions were also written down by the students (see attachment). Afterwards, these (very moving impressions) were partly read out in the plenary.

3. What difficulties did you encounter?

– In understanding the film plot?

  • Quick „film cuts“ when changing sound recordings/witnesses and survivors (but this is certainly due to the short version).
  • Who is speaking at the moment? (Which tape /direct quote belongs to whom, here students had a good idea for better understanding. (this idea was also included in future lessons).
  • It was important for the students to have a (prior) historical orientation.
  • It was in short clear to the students what the film was about. The quick changes between the individual scenes and the sound material required a high level of attention. Therefore, we watched the film several times and divided it up into different parts.

– In the historical classification of the events communicated?

  • Important: The teacher must first deal with the background (Balkan military campaign, division and occupation of Greece by the Germans and the Greek resistance). This chapter is not included in any history book of our school types. Therefore, a small teaching guide was created as a future support.
  • First deal with the course of the II World War.
  • The additional material offers (partly) good starting points (historical classification, division into three parts, hunger winter, etc…).
  • Parts of the material for the lesson had to be adapted for the students and the age group and/or supplemented accordingly.

    – In the emotional processing of the war crimes described?

  • Important: Introductory words of the teacher (original recordings of eyewitnesses/survivors, partly drastic/vivid descriptions, etc.), so that the students are prepared.
  • Otherwise, see also 2. and 3.

4. How were you able to prepare and/or follow up the film screening?
Preparation went well. Noting the points mentioned below.

  • If there are refugee children in the learning group, it is essential to discuss the topic with the participants beforehand, as the film is very emotional (individual discussion, not in front of the class).
  • Do the students have prior knowledge? (For example, we have a Greek student in grade 10 and the study group whose grandparents told her about the war).
  • Teacher preparation: familiarization with the historical background (see above), watching the film several times beforehand, highlighting striking scenes.
  • Introduce the students to the historical context (see historical classification of the communicated events).
  • Clarify technical terms: Partisans, ELA, etc.


  • Important: To catch the students emotionally again. To give them enough time and space for their thoughts and feelings after the film (planning 2 double lessons or a morning of project work…).
  • During the joint follow-up, the students expressed the wish to focus more on this part of German-Greek history. First ideas for a project emerged.
  • The students sorted the different facets of the film: from the massacre to today’s remembrance.
  • Each student was given the opportunity to deal with the events in writing.

5. Which of the enclosed documents were helpful for you?

In general, the documents are helpful. I have adapted them to the requirements of our students. The book „Feuerrauch (Fire Smoke)“ was also helpfull.

6. On which aspects of the topic would you have liked more information?

XXX (none)

7. What did working with the film bring to you yourself?

  • Thoughtfulness, since I myself had never had this part of German-Greek history in mind.
  • A very moving insight into the fate of the population of Lyngiades (which is only one example of the many crimes committed by the Wehrmacht in Greece).
  • Shame about what our ancestors did there.
  • Lack of understanding about the „remembrance and memory gap“ of German politics and the population, despite the knowledge about the committed crimes of the Wehrmacht in Greece. Only belatedly Greece is approached with remembrance projects by the Germans.
  • Motivation to revive this remembrance and memory work in the classroom and in projects.
  • Certainty of how important it is to come to terms with this part of history.

8. Would you generally recommend educational work in Germany with the film?

Please mark with a cross: YES X No O

If applicable
– for which target groups (age, previous knowledge, socio-cultural composition)?

I will use this important film again at any time in grades 9 and 10 of our Realschule plus. If you tailor the material to the group, this is not a problem.

– under what conditions?

In class and in project work with young people.

9. Other comments:

Thank you for letting us participate in this project!
You are doing incredibly important work!

Place/ Date: Daaden 17.1. 2021
Name: Lars Limbach, teacher at Hermann-Gmeiner-Realschule plus Daaden.