The Heathens of Kummerow

The Heathens of Kummerow (German: Die Heiden von Kummerow und ihre lustigen Streiche, lit. 'The Heathens of Kummerow and Their Funny Pranks') is a 1967 East German-West German family comedy film directed by Werner Jacobs and starring Paul Dahlke, Ralf Wolter and Fritz Tillmann. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by Ehm Welk and published in 1937.

The Heathens of Kummerow
The Heathens of Kummerow.jpg
Directed byWerner Jacobs
Produced byKurt Hahne
Walter Koppel
Written byKurt Hahne
Eberhard Keindorff
Johanna Sibeliu
Based onThe Heathens of Kummerow
by Ehm Welk
StarringPaul Dahlke
Ralf Wolter
Fritz Tillmann
Music byRolf Alexander Wilhelm
CinematographyGünter Haubold
Edited byMonika Schindler
Neue Deutsche Filmgesellschaft
Neue Real Film W. Koppel
Distributed byConstantin Film
Release date
21 December 1967
Running time
94 minutes
CountriesEast Germany
West Germany

The film's sets were designed by the art directors Senta Ochs and Alfred Tolle. Location shooting took place around Rügen.


It is the era before World War I and short before Easter in the village of Kummerow in Pomerania, and a group of boys revive a custom of "heathen baptism". It is said that the villagers had resisted Christianization by remaining in the water during the baptism, which lived on as a traditional contest where boys will stand in the cold water, and the one who endures the longest is crowned "heathen king". This practice is not appreciated by the local pastor, although when the pastor and the illegally employed cowherd Krischan get into trouble with the miller Düker, the boys' talent for playing pranks comes in handy.



The film is based on the 1937 novel The Heathens of Kummerow by Ehm Welk. The book was the third best selling novel written in Nazi Germany, and along with other novels by the apolitical humourist Welk, it became a modern classic in East Germany.[1] The film adaptation was the first film co-produced by East and West Germany.[2]


  1. ^ Minden, Michael (2011). Modern German Literature. ISBN 978-0-7456-2919-3.
  2. ^ Hake, Sabine (2008) [2002]. German National Cinema. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-415-42097-6.

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