Director: Michael Schaerer2020
The series is set in Switzerland in the summer of 1945 shortly after the end of the Second World War and revolves around the Tobler family of the Frei AG cloth factory. Johann Leutenegger, who has just married into the company through Klara Tobler, is supposed to take over responsibility for the family and save them through hard times, because his father-in-law Alfred is no longer able to do so due to ill health. Meanwhile, Klara gets involved in a refugee home for teenage concentration camp survivors from Buchenwald, and Johann's brother Egon, an official of the Federal Prosecutor's Office and an active-duty soldier during the war, investigates a war criminal, with connections to Carl Frei and the company emerging. Soon Johann must decide: for the company or against Nazis.
Frieden comes from Petra Volpe, who developed the idea and wrote the screenplay. She says she came across the material by chance, first the Rat Lines, escape routes of the Nazis, one of which also led through Bern. A little later, she read about the Buchenwald Action, in which Switzerland took in children and young people from Buchenwald concentration camp as humanitarian aid. "I found that a perverse situation, victims and perpetrators were in Switzerland at the same time." Volpe originally wanted to write a feature film, but the material was so comprehensive that she and producer Reto Schärli decided on the format of a miniseries. The work of condensing the material into the screenplay took nine years. The book "Gegen den Strom der Finsternis" (Against the Current of Darkness) by the refugee aid worker Charlotte Weber, who had run the Felsenegg children's home, served as a source for the Buchenwald children, including the main actress Annina Walt.
The series appeared in Switzerland on the channel SRF 1 in double episodes from November 8, 2020. In Germany, the first broadcast was on Arte. On March 25, 2021, episodes 1 to 3, and on April 1, 2021, episodes 4 to 6 were broadcast.
Critics commented positively on the drama and its presentation
"[Schaerer's] direction is a subtle and highly skillful montage of parallel storylines. One is enthusiastic because each of these storylines is convincing on its own. The script work also contributes decisively to this."
- Zachery Z.: Filmpuls
"The new SRF series "Frieden" is virtually celebrated"
- Daniel Fuchs: Tagblatt
""Frieden" is the best thing SRF has produced in a long time.""
- Daniel Fuchs: Tagblatt
""Frieden" is an exciting and visually powerful reappraisal of a piece of Swiss history that has received little attention so far""
- Peter Padrutt and Jean-Claude Galli: Blick
"Switzerland's past can also be heard echoing in the present."
- Lory Roebuck: NZZ