Before the Fall

2004 film by Dennis Gansel

Before the Fall (also known as NaPolA: Hitler's Elite; German: Napola - Elite für den Führer) is a 2004 German drama film written and directed by Dennis Gansel.

Men may make history, but we make the men.

Dr. Karl Klein

  • Men may make history, but we make the men.

Albrecht Stein

  • My mother always says everything I write is wonderful, but she's never really read anything to the end.


[School authorities have summoned Gauleiter Heinrich Stein, Albrecht's father, after Albrecht read an essay aloud in class in which he condemned the recent mobilization of school cadets to assist in the hunting down and execution of a group of escaped Russian prisoners.]
Heinrich Stein: How do you explain your behavior? Do you realize the position you've put me in? I don't think you have the slightest idea of all the privileges you have here. [Walks past Albrecht and stares out a window] Do you know how much I would have sacrificed just to be able to graduate from such a school? But I wasn't granted such a chance. By the age of 16, I'd already been working for three whole years. [Turns and stares at his son] And you... all you do is trample on everything. But that's over now. You're going to write an essay, in which you'll tell the real version. And I expect you to voluntarily join the Waffen-SS by yourself. I've already talked to Borner, Brigade Leader. Ukraine will suit you the best, right now.
Albrecht Stein: I can't.
Heinrich Stein: What?
Albrecht Stein: I won't write a new essay. Yesterday, I wrote what I really thought.
[Angered further, Gauleiter Stein walks back and glares at Albrecht up close.]
Heinrich Stein: I'm to be given that essay early tomorrow morning, or else you won't survive this.

[Albrecht has written a second essay, in which he didn't do as told, but specifically condemned his father, who ordered that the Russian prisoners be hunted down and shot.]
Albrecht Stein: That's the first writing of mine my father has ever read.
Friedrich Weimer: So what are you going to do now?
Albrecht Stein: I don't know.

Dr. Karl Klein: Good to see you up.
Friedrich Weimer: I'd like to have this printed for the upcoming issue.
[Dr. Karl Klein, the school headmaster, looks at the paper on his desk; it is an obituary for Albrecht Stein.]
Dr. Karl Klein: No.
Friedrich Weimer: But- then they can't yet bury him. You can't do that-
Dr. Karl Klein: Amidst people who have died for Fuehrer, Fatherland, and Nation, there is no place for suicides. His parents think the same way. They've seriously asked me if I've forgiven you for the fact that you're partially responsible for his death. Both strongly feel that their son changed greatly since meeting you. But I defended you. Don't worry. I know how much that Saturday fight in the name of our school means to you. Strong proof of your faith in your tutors. And your gratitude for the chance that you were given here. Thank you. You may leave now.

Closing Titles

  • Until 1945 there were in the German Reich around 40 National Political Educational Institutes with more than 15,000 students. When the war was finally acknowledged as being lost, they were sent out into the "Final Struggle". Blinded by instructed fanaticism and insufficiently armed, they still offered bitter resistance in many battles. Half of them died.
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