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Death is My Trade

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Death is My Trade
Aus einem deutschen Leben
Movie Poster
Country GER.jpg West Germany
Directed by Theodor Kotulla
Release Date November 17, 1977
Language Germanh
Studio Iduna Film Produktiongesellschaft
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
Distributor Filmverlag der Autoren
Main Cast
Character Actor
Franz Lang Kai Taschner /
Götz George
Else Lang Elisabeth Schwarz
Heinrich Himmler Hans Korte
Oberst von Jeseritz Kurt Hübner
Adolf Eichmann Walter Czaschke
Obersturmführer Setzler Claus-Dieter Reents
Constant Sandrail Nicolas Giraud

Death is My Trade is a 1977 German movie written and directed by Theodor Kotulla and starring Götz George. The adaptation of the script is based on the 1952 French novel La mort est mon métier by Robert Merle. Like the novel, the film is based on interrogation transcripts from the trial of Rudolf Höß, SS officer and commandant of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, as well as on his autobiographical notes, which he wrote while in British custody and, after his extradition, in Polish custody in 1946/47 before he was executed as a convicted war criminal. Instead of the name Rudolf Höß, on whose biography the plot is based, the pseudonym Franz Lang is used in the film following an anonymizing intention. The real Rudolf Höß had initially gone into hiding under this name after the Second World War as a supposed boatmate until he was unmasked and arrested in 1946.

The following weapons were used in the film Death is My Trade:


Luger P08

Franz Lang (Götz George) owns a Luger P08 which he referred to as a "Mauser Pistole". The pistol is also held by Siebert (Wilfried Elste).

Luger P08 - 9x19mm Parabellum
Franz looks at the uncovered Luger. The magazine is seen lying beneath it.
After inserting the magazine he moves the toggle-action.
The Luger in the hand of Siebert as a symbol of his offer.
Having accepted the offer Franz aims the Luger.

Chamelot-Delvigne Mle. 1873

A Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 is used by Franz Lang.

Chamelot-Delvigne Modèle 1873 - 11x17.8mmR
Franz draws the Chamelot-Delvigne...
...and shoots the injured communist spy.

Colt M1911A1

A US MP has a Colt M1911A1 in his holster.

Colt M1911A1 - .45 ACP
The MP escorts Franz Lang to the interrogation.
The end of the grip is visible in the white holster.

Submachine Guns

MP 40

Some Waffen SS soldiers are armed with MP40s.

Maschinenpistole 40 - 9x19mm Parabellum
An SS soldier which appears to be a Rottenführer (Corporal) watches working KZ inmates with his MP 40. Judging by the slab-sided magazine well this is the earlier variant.
Another SS guard carries a late variant with a ribbed magazine well.


Karabiner 98k

The Karabiner 98k is widely used throughout the movie by German soldiers including Becker (uncredited), Schrader (Peter Franke), and Schmitz (Hermann Günther). Its appearance in 1917 during the First World War is clearly an anachronism, in addition, it is the late WWII variant and in the scenes set from 1941 onwards, it can only be seen from afar being carried by SS soldiers.

Karabiner 98k with S84/98 bayonet - 7.92x57mm Mauser
German soldiers including young Franz (Kai Taschner) and Schrader resting with their carbines next to them.
Franz holds Schrader at gunpoint. Note the front sights have large protective "ears".
A close-up of a Karabiner equipped with an S84/98 bayonet held by a Freikorps Roßbach member in 1920. The welded barrel band indicates a late WWII variant.
A good view of Franz's Kar98k after firing. The white painted swastika on his Stahlhelm M16 was a sign of a warlike appearance for some Freikorps paramilitaries and thus has a different meaning in comparison to the later.
A smoking SS guard holds his Karabiner in a courtyard in Auschwitz.

Mauser Gewehr 1898

A full-length Mauser rifle is briefly seen in a gun rack which appears to be a Gewehr 98.

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
The long Mauser rifle can be seen next to opened door next to SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Franz Land and Obersturmführer (First lieutenant) Setzler (Claus-Dieter Reents). Note the longer barrel and parade hook compared to the Kar98ks next to it.

Machine Guns

Maxim MG 08

During the World War One scene, a Maxim MG08 is used by Becker (uncredited) and Schmitz (Hermann Günther).

Maxim MG 08 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
The unused Maxim among resting soldiers.
Becker and Schmitz pick the machine gun up to transport it.
The squad with the deployed Maxim in a trench. In this picture, the different tasks of a German MG crew can be seen well: The Unteroffizier (Corporal) observes the action, gunner 3 loads the belt into the gun, gunner 2 fires it, and the first gunner has constant eye contact with the officer to pass on his orders.
A view of the left side while firing.
Schmitz now acts as the second gunner.
Schmitz carries the Maxim.
After returning to Hauptmann (Captain) Günther (Siegurd Fitzek) exhausted Franz lies next to the Maxim which offers a view of the right side.

Hand Grenades

Model 24 Stielhandgranate

Three German soldiers are seen with anachronistic Model 24 Stielhandgranates standing in for the Model 17.

Model 24 Stielhandgranate
The soldier next to the Maxim, the one above the ammunition, and the one who in turn above him have the stick grenades.

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