After the Fall (Die Himmelsleiter)

Event: 27.02.2015 | 8:15 pm | Das Erste

Cologne 1947, the metropolis built on the banks of the Rhine has been completely destroyed. An attack by a thousand bombers has left the city in ruins, nothing is left standing. For the people, the end of the war is far from the end of the struggle for survival. On the contrary, the winter of 1946-47 is the hardest of the century, with an allocation of only three coal briquettes each per day. Smuggling, stealing, the black market: "In bad times all this is allowed," says Cardinal Frings. "Fringsen" is from now on a survival strategy. But the carnival, which the people of Cologne cautiously rediscover, offers a short time out from their daily hardship. They’re hungry, beaten and tired, but the people refuse to simply give in to despair. One of these people is Anna Roth (Christiane Paul). A mother of three, Anna is married to the Lithuanian Jew Adam Roth. She waits for his return without knowing if he is still alive. At the same time, she is looking for support, which she possibly finds in the relationship with farmer Josef Halfen (Henning Baum). But one thing is certain: the Nazi attitude still lives in Armin Zettler (Axel Prahl). As a Rhenisch Nazi Party Deputy Chairman, he held his seemingly protective hand over the Roth family for a long time, only to betray them in the end. Zettler's world broke down when the war ended but, thanks to good relations with the victorious powers, he is now on the right track to get back to the top. The imminent denazification process is only annoying for a reason: it is in the way of his desire for more money and influence. Zettler has one thing in particular that he wants: Anna's house, which she is not ready to give away...

Picture: Stephanie Kulbach

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer

Doris Zander


Elnas Isrusch

Coproduction Company

MIA Film (Michael Pokorný)


ARD Degeto

Commissioning Editors

Birgit Titze, Sascha Schwingel 


Peter Zingler


Carlo Rola

Director of Photography

Nicolay Gutscher


Christiane Paul, Axel Prahl, Henning Baum, Ernst Stötzner, Teresa Harder, Nicolai Kinski, Lucas Prisor, Sarah Horvath, Muriel Wimmer, Sina Tkotsch

Line Producer

Gilbert Möhler

Unit Production Manager

Udo Happel

Set Design

Jerome Latour

Costume Design

Mirjam Muschel


Jeanette Latzelsberger


Friederike von Normann