I Survived My Own Death

Vojtěch Jasný, 1960



The 1960s brought about a fresh and more complex examination of the question of heroism, betrayal and the moral compromises necessary for people to survive occupation during the Second World War. This 1960 drama from director Vojtěch Jasný serves as one of the first Czechoslovak films to ride this new wave of more controversial subject matters. The story is set in a Nazi death camp, and centres on prisoner Tonda Majer. The young boxer finds himself in a concentration camp after getting into a fight with a man who turns out to be a Gestapo officer. The formerly apolitical Tonda gains the respect of both fellow prisoners and his captors by demonstrating unwavering resolve and forthrightness. Ultimately, the camp’s brutal methods lead Tonda towards joining the ranks of the illegal communist underground. As part of offering up a story deemed “correct” by the existing regime, the filmmakers manage to touch upon issues of collaboration by certain prisoners, and the existence of forced prostitution at such camps for “non-political” inmates. František Peterka excels in the leading role of this classic drama – the actor’s coarse features and natural style meant that only rarely was he afforded a chance at larger and more challenging roles.
Read more


About a film

film_production_year 1960
film_countries Czechoslovakia
film_genres drama
film_form feature
film_duration 93 min
film_director Vojtěch Jasný
film_cast František Peterka, Jiří Sovák, Václav Lohniský, Martin Ťapák, Paul Berndt, Hans-Joachim Hegewald
film_director_of_photography Jaroslav Kučera
film_screenplay Milan Jariš
film_film_editor Jan Chaloupek
film_production_designer Karel Lier
film_music_composed_by Svatopluk Havelka
film_sound_designer Jaromír Svoboda