The Gysis – A German Family History

Gregor Gysi – a man who shaped the German political party Die Linke (The Left) like no other; a man whose life oscillates between the old Germany and the new one. A man who has not escaped unscathed in various spheres of life: political, private, personal. And finally, a man whose role in the GDR has been disputed vigorously in court. His origins are found in an intellectual family that remained loyal to the party, and which became committed to communism early on, yet maintained a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Gysi was raised by his parents Irene and Klaus Gysi, both of whom held high offices in the GDR, and who strongly formed the characters of Gregor and his sister. Gysi himself worked as a lawyer in the GDR, and has labored since the fall of the Berlin Wall to build up the successor party to the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany). "The Gysis" attempts to catch up with the man and his family. Virtually no other biography, no other family history illustrates the relationship between West and East Germany in such an intense, representative, but at the same time contentious way. Here is a life story that is symptomatic of both the old Germany and the new. And needless to say, while Gysi no longer serves as party chairman, he still plays an active role. Gysi is not built for retirement. The film – which explores Gysi's role in the period of German reunification – focuses on Gysi's current function as a Member of Parliament, framing it with retrospective views of his family history, which has so much to teach us about the role of culture and jurisprudence in the GDR. Having their say alongside Gysi and his family members are contemporary witnesses, companions, and critical voices from the milieu of the Citizen Movement, as well as his current counterparts, all contributing to a deeper understanding of the lives and the influence of the members of the Gysi family.

back to selection