U.S. TROOPS IN THE WASTELAND
The history of the German-American rapprochement from the perspective of former soldiers of the occupation.
“Frankly, I did not have much sympathy for the Germans. They started the damn war, not us.” The U.S. press officer Gene Mater echoes the sentiments of many former GIs who came to Germany at the end of the war. For Americans who knew Germans only from propaganda and the battlefield up until that point, this view changed with co-habitation. They took on a task which had never before been undertaken – namely to politically reeducate the population of a conquered country, to get them back on their feet economically and begin a whole new way of life. Tony Vaccaro and other occupation troops in this documentary film describe their experiences in Germany. They tell us of German post-war misery, distrust between Americans and Germans, the black market and hunting for hidden Nazis. And they tell of great emotion. Love in the ruins: In these times it is not cliché, but a thousand times over a reality. Such memories belong to Connie MacGrath, a Frankfurt resident who now lives in San Diego. Hers is the story of a German-American love against great odds: distrust on the part of parents, “one does not fraternize with the enemy” – and the army superiors of her boyfriend. “In Germany, I grew up,” says Tony Vaccaro: “I felt I was growing as a person, so I stayed there..” At that time he was a young infantryman with career aspirations of being a photographer. He always carried his Leica. And Germany after surrender became his moving human and artistic challenge. Tony Vaccaro was the official photographer for the U.S. headquarters in Frankfurt and documented, in thousands of photos, everyday life in the ruins of Germany. “Mein Germany – U.S. troops in the wasteland”, is a cinematic photo-album that stretches from the last battles of the war to the Berlin Airlift. The film takes us back to a time in which something new imperceptibly emerged from the rubble.