Klaus Rozsa, a well-known and politically active photographer, lived in Zurich for decades as a stateless individual. All of his applications for naturalisation were refused on political grounds. In 1956 he fled Hungary, growing up in Switzerland with a Jewish father who had survived Auschwitz and Dachau. Due to the extreme proximity of such a fate, the camera led him repeatedly to places where injustice was done. It was this particular quality of his camerawork that proved fateful for him. State Security writes: “By recording police abuse, he interfered with the work of the police.” The latter harassed and abused him so frequently that he emigrated to Hungary in 2008, where he then entered into fresh confrontations.
The film about the artist max bill (1908-1994), an ardent anti-fascist, moves between the dynamic fields of art and politics. max bill was one of the the most important swiss artist of the 20th century and the most famous student to come out of the legendary bauhaus in dessau. all his avant-garde work as an artist, sculptor, architect and typographer showed a social responsibility and environmental awareness right through his life. His views have become topical.
The policemen's wages were stolen from the Zurich police headquarters. Police inspector Meier 19 discovered that the head of the crime squad gave a fake alibi. But instead of investigating the false alibi inspector Meier 19 was imprisoned, his wife demanded the divorce and his friends abandoned him. But the revolutionary youth movement of 1968 supported Meier 19 who became a symbol of the battle against the established order while his life fell apart like in a classical tragedy.
Peter Surava made history with the weekly paper «Die Nation» as a symbol of the anti-fascist resistance during World War II. He fought against censorship and for a human asylum policy. But therefore he became a personal enemy of the federal council Eduard von Steiger. Arrest, imprisonment and anti-Semitism plunged him into misfortune. His fate was that he was originally called Hans Werner Hirsch – a name with a Jewish ring to it.
A delegation of observers went to the mass-trials against 723 political opposition members conducted by the special military tribunals in Turkey on the military base called Mamak in Ankara. Erich Schmid documented the course of the trials with his camera, and together with archives material, put together a 45-minute video-film. His eye-witness report gives us an up to the minute account of the Turkish prisoners' hunger strike.
On a warm summer night in 1990 the young 25 year old Tamil refugee Jeevan was killed by a Swiss racist in Regensdorf, a suburb of north west Zurich. Jeevan was cremated and his ashes, at the request of his relatives, was taken in an urn by the film director Erich Schmid and transported to Jaffna. The trip to Jaffna with urn in one hand and video cam-recorder in the other followed the same route, but in reverse, taken by Jeevan in his perilous escape from Jaffna, years before.
«Indian Peace in Sri Lanka» was a video made in 1988 to prevent the deportation of huge number of Tamil refugees from Switzerland to Sri Lanka. The Swiss authorities claimed that the civil war in Sri Lanka have been appeased and the return of the Tamil refugees to their homeland is reasonable. Erich Schmid and Karin Gutierrez went to Sri Lanka with video-camera and came back with pictures which have been testified that a severe civil war was going on.