Film director, Edgar Reitz, defines 'Heimat', a German word which cannot easily be translated. He explains how it conveys the idea of a childhood world which people yearn for. The idea of Heimat, the homeland, was a popular part of Nazi ideology, but was portrayed in a more idealistic way in the 1950s. Reitz discusses how his epic film represented a change from the traditional 'Heimat' movie, as it was a film about German history from the perspective of ordinary people. Short excerpts from the film are shown.
This clip can be used to help students understand the unique concept of 'Heimat'. Tell them the literal meaning of 'Heimat', then ask them how 'Heimat' is defined in the clip. Discuss this. As a cultural awareness activity, students could be asked to research the Hunsrück area of Germany and find out why so many people moved away from there.