HAYMATLOZ  - Exile in Turkey





 Doc, 90 min, 2015, Germany

Written and Directed by: Eren Önsöz

Produced by: Erik Winker, Martin Roelly, Andreas Brauer

Sponsored by: A HUPE Film production in co-production with Mamoko Entertainment, funded by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and BKM

Language: German and Turkish with English subtitles





″Haymatloz″ tells the stories of five German Jewish academics who emigrated to Turkey in the 1930s, to be welcomed with open arms. After 1933 a considerable number of German intellectuals emigrated to Turkey at the invitation of Atatürk and went on to definitively shape teaching and instruction in Turkish universities. Turkish-born filmmaker Önsöz accompanies the descendants of these German exiles and sheds light on a memorable piece of history whose meaning is still felt to this day, as these renowned Germans played a substantial role in the Europeanization of Turkey.



"Haymatloz" is a beautiful film, directed with a great sense of timing and superb cinematography, with a strong political focus towards the end."

Deutsche Welle


"Haymatloz is poignant and honest, filled with beautiful photographic shots of two cities where the beauty of the past still lingers, although hesitantly."

The Culture Trip








Having reached retirement age, they are living comfortably in Switzerland and Germany like so many academics of their generation. But is this really home to them?

 Susan Ferenz-Schwartz, Kurt Heilbronn, Engin Bagda, Enver Hirsch and Elisabeth Weber-Belling are sharing an uncommon past.

 There are lots of Turkish migrants in Germany. But these five people are children of German migrants. Long before the migration movement from Turkey to Germany their parents took the opposite road and found themselves a new home in Turkey. Having spent their youths in Istanbul and Ankara, sooner or later all of them relocated back to Germany. But being German Jews who grew up in Turkey they never felt quite at home here. In „Haymatloz“ all five protagonists share a deep longing for Turkey.

10 years ago journalist and director Eren Önsöz journeyed into the German-Turkish past with her graduate film „Import – Export“ for the first time. Now she delves into another unkown chapter of German-Turkish history with the effortlessly directed documentary „Haymatloz“.

 Her protagonists tell the story of how the „Advisory Office for German Scientists“ established contact between the mostly secular Jewish academics and Atatürk, who was also striving for secularization in the 30s and how the newcomers were welcomed in Turkey. In their home country they were marked for death, here it almost felt like paradise for them. They went on to leave a huge mark on the young Turkish country.

 The lawyer Ernst Hirsch wrote legal commentary still valid to this day. Architects like Clemens Holzmeister or Bruno Taut significantly shaped the newly founded capital Ankara with their buildings and the artist Rudolf Belling, after being villainized by the Nazis as „depraved“, left a big impression not only on his art students but also on the streets of Istanbul with his sculptures.

When the children of those who built all this talk about the atmosphere of new beginnings, their longing for these past times becomes palpable. So Eren Önsöz takes them on a journey into the past. They visit childhood places, enjoy the beauty of Istanbul, the Bosporus coastline and the scents of busy marketplaces. The memories are not without melancholy, though. The liberal Turkey of their childhood doesn't seem to exist anymore. Atatürks modernization as well as their parent's achievements are gradually reversed by Erdogan and his politics. By the end Eren Önsöz' journey into the past opens a very important discourse about the present and future of Turkish society.




For International Screenings please contact: