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5 Short Movies about the Ballonauts. Script: Joseph Berlinger, Narrator: Bianka Haslbeck, Reciter: Sepp Fischer

Director and Production Hubertus Wiendl

Copyeight 2014 Ballonauten e.V.



The Ballonauts — the maturation process of an historical and forward-looking project
An invitation to a journey back in time and to the future of Europe.

In the middle of 2010 I came into a possession of an old book. Nothing unusual in that, but this book was the travel diary of two men from Regensburg who documented their journey through Germany from 1932 to 1933.

The story of a journey through Germany
The baker and the dock worker had just lost their jobs, and to escape the boredom and financial problems they took to the road. Their vehicle was a ball that weighed 6oo kilograms that they built themselves and whose interior served as living quarters. They rolled this heavy monstrosity themselves throughout the whole of Germany; over streets and field tracks and along coasts, reaching Sylt in the North and in the South, scaling the 1500 meter high Wallberg on the Tegernsee lake. The journey ended on 14 August 1933 in Rosenberg, where the ball fell apart. They documented this journey in a book, glued photos, postcards or IOUs inside, made notes and observations and painstakingly recorded their experiences in a diary.

The lessons from a journey through Germany
Today we realize that this book is an invaluable and extremely insightful contemporary document. It gives a day-to-day and therefore realistic point of view of the still inexplicable era of the seizure of power by Hitler and his National Socialists. What was the Germany that subjugated itself to the most terrible dictator in the history of humanity really like? What grievances in the unstable Weimer Republic made Hitler's unimpeded march to limitless domination possible? What did the model for democracy in this republic look like? What was the mood like in the country that, just a few months later, fell prey to the most brutal regime of terror? The travel diary of Jakob Schmid and Franz Perl answers these questions and provides enlightening and undisguised insights into an age that, despite all our knowledge, seems inexplicable today.

The reactivation of a journey through Germany (Reenactment)
The impressions of this book have, over time, evolved to become a wide-ranging project. The history of the Nazi era must not be allowed to be forgotten, but the youth at the beginning of the third millennium can no longer be reached through shock and family history. The madness of the Nazi era is too far away, both in time and emotionally, it is something for the history books. Nevertheless, the modern age offers many connecting factors: a worldwide economic and financial crisis had shaken the population, which we recognize through current experience in Europe. Migration and integration were also a thorny topic, just like today. Joblessness, a lack of trust in politics and radicalization were the order of the day and these are also still with us today.
This book provides us with the basis for the project "The Ballonauts". A vision will be realized in a number of steps: the history of the Nazi era will be made tangible for the youth of today; the comprehension of the relationships of the horror will be promoted by clarity.


Verein zur Förderung von gesellschaftlicher Integration und Solidarität Ballonauten e.V.
z. Hd. Hubertus Wiendl
Curator of the Ballonauten

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