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Men of honour    

Men of Honour

Duration :

52 mins

Format :

BetaCam SP

Writter and Director :

Bente Milton

Co-production :

DR / Danish Broadcasting
Broadcast Baden Baden - Germany
The Production Company - Jersey

Production :

Milton Media

This film tells the incredible but true story of two extraordinary cousins. Linked by blood – separated by war – defending the honour of family and country on opposite sides in World War II.

When they were boys, they went hunting together and played war-games in the woods of South Zealand in Denmark – not knowing that a few years later the game would turn into reality. ANDERS LASSEN – known as "ANDY" – joined the British army and became a highly respected member of the famous SAS regiment. AXEL VON DEM BUSSCHE had to follow the traditions of his fathers Saxon family. He joined the German army and became a highly decorated officer in Hitler's 9th regiment.

After a number of daring expeditions behind enemy lines in occupied France and on the Channel Islands, Andy was sent of to the Aegean Sea. The population on the Greek Islands idolised the blond "Viking" who fought bravely side by side with the local partisans. Andy was awarded the military cross three times and by the age of 24 he was already a legendary figure of the war.

After having witnessed a brutal massacre on 2000 Jews, Axel von dem Bussche realised the madness behind Hitler's "Final Solution", he joined the Von Stauffenberg group and volunteered to sacrifice his life to assasinate Hitler. The assassination failed, but Axel survived and the irony of the story is that he never got another chance to purify himself from the guilt he felt for having been a passive witness to the holocaust.

Andy suffered a heroic death on the battlefield and was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously – Axel dedicated the rest of his life to working for human rights against nationalism and racism. In 1993, he returned to his birth town Quedlinburg in former DDR, to confront a group of young Neo-Nazis. But this last stirring attempt to bring fourth their humanity by invoking his own horrible war experience failed. The young Nazis accused Axel of lying and refused to listen. . Axel had to give up and return to his home, where he died just a few weeks later.

The visuals of the film is entirely based on outstanding archive material. It includes archive film showing Andy live in action on various locations in the Aegean Sea and Nazi propaganda film promoting Hitlers 9th regiment Through personal contacts with the Lassen family in Denmark and the Bussche family in Germany we have had exclusive access to private family photos, letters, diaries and documents etc. We have made interviews with the legendary war heroes Lord Jellicoe, and David Sutherland who was in charge of Andy's regiment – and with the former president of Germany Richard von Weizsächer, who served with Axel von dem Bussche in the 9th regiment and became his best friend.

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