1964 in Hamburg in an NDR studio on Rothenbaumchaussee: the journalist Friedrich K. Friedrich interviews the writer Ulrich Kien in his television programme "Achtung Kultur". Kien, formerly Adolf Rosenstein, in his early forties, an avowed socialist, a much talked-about and award-winning author and playwright, who emigrated from Prague to England in 1939, where he still lives. Friedrich K. Friedrich, about fifty, NDR presenter, who wrote scripts for the Reichsfilm AG during the Nazi era. It is supposed to be a conversation about Kien's current play and work.
Gradually, however, the entanglements of the two men during the Second World War unravel. Family histories, political ideologies, personal motives, and at the centre of it all, a woman they both knew: Paula Paulson. She was one of the many people who were portrayed in a film made by the Reichsfilm AG and were subsequently deported. The television interview develops into a thriller in front of and behind the scenes. Fascist ideologies, which continue to prevail in the mind of Friedrich K. Friedrich, come to the surface.
This confrontation becomes a fight for survival for one of the two.
With Kien, Maxim Biller makes a piece of history of the young Federal Republic of Germany tangible. The ideas from the Nazi era still live on in many minds of German society and must first be overcome by subsequent generations.
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