Always on Duty

Zu jeder Stunde (English-language title: Always On Duty)[1] is an East German black-and-white film, directed by Heinz Thiel. It was released in 1960.

Zu jeder Stunde
Directed byHeinz Thiel
Produced bySiegfried Nürnberger
Written byLothar Dutombé
StarringRolf Stövesand
Music byHelmut Nier
CinematographyErwin Anders
Edited byWally Gurschke
Distributed byProgress Film
Release date
29 January 1960
Running time
85 minutes
CountryEast Germany


Border Troops' soldier Martin arrives in a village on the Inner German border. He falls in love with a local girl, Renate. Their relationship is opposed to by her father, who promised her to the son of farmer Grabow. When Grabow plans to leave to the West with the aid of the corrupt officer Zimmer, Martin discovers their plans and informs his superiors, although Zimmer was his friend.


  • Rolf Stövesand as Martin Kraft
  • Erika Radtke as Renate Wedel
  • Hans-Peter Minetti as Hermann Höhne
  • Roman Silberstein as Heinz Tröger
  • Manfred Borgesas Schlegel
  • Erich Franz as Otto Grabow
  • Otmar Richter as Felix Grabow
  • Rolf Ripperger as Fred Wedel
  • Hans Finohr as Arthur Wedel
  • Fritz Diez as Father Kraft, the priest
  • Werner Lierck as Köhler
  • Josef Stauder as Schröder
  • Horst Kube as Erich Willembrot
  • Harry Hindemith as Marian Klein


The DEFA Commission reviewed 58 scripts that were proposed for filming in the years 1959/60. Four of those were dubbed as "aesthetic films", and were all centered on portraying Christians as backward and reactionary. Out of the four, State Secretary of Cinema Erich Wendt authorized one script, that became the basis to Always on Duty. Although the picture was produced, the improvement in church and state relations in East Germany during 1960 prompted several changes in the plot, and the picture's antagonists were not presented as devout Catholics.[2]


Miera and Antonin Liehm cited Zu Jeder Stunde as one of DEFA's "contemporary socialist films."[3] The Der Monat journal's critic wrote that while viewing the film, "the public could be impressed by the alertness of the Border Troops."[4] The German Film Lexicon regarded it as "unassuming, propagandistic, not persuading and artistically weak, as well as full of stereotypes."[5]


  1. ^ Zu jeder Stunde on DEFA Foundation's website.
  2. ^ Zu jeder Stunde on the German Church and State Research Institute's website.
  3. ^ Miera Liehm, Antonin J. Liehm . The Most Important Art: Soviet and Eastern European Film After 1945. ISBN 978-0-520-04128-8. Page 266.
  4. ^ Der Monat: eine internationale Zeitschrift, Volume 13, page 64.
  5. ^ Zu jeder Stunde on

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