Christine Neubauer

Christine Neubauer - My Family´s Secret

Authors: Daniela Agostini. Human interest - BR - 2008 - 45 min

The actress Christine Neubauer is puzzled by an old family photo. As her parents don't know much about their own forebears, Christine Neubauer takes it upon herself to go in search of some clues to the secrets of her family. Why did her grandmother give her own child away? What is the origin of the actress's dark skin that people so often comment upon? Are her ancestors from southern Europe? Italy perhaps? Step by step she reconstructs the life stories of her unknown predecessors. On her path, she discovers destinies characterised by highs and lows and meets women who bravely fought against their lots.

Her first stop is Triftern, a remote village in Lower Bavaria. There she meets her aunt Erika who still remembers her Grandmother, Fanny. Erika knows the places and the people and can shed some light on the mystery. Christine's mother, Lydia Neubauer, was born illegitimately in Bavaria in 1937. At the time of her birth, her mother Fanny was just 18 years old. After Lydia was born, Fanny did as many young women did at the beginning of the 20th century and moved to Munich on her own. Some went in search of happiness, employment, a husband or all three, while others fled the threat of being ostracised in their rural homes.

Christiane's search continues in the Munich district of Au. There, she sets out to trace the life of her great-grandfather, Theodor the chimneysweep. What she uncovers is poverty, numerous children and a wife who died young. Theodor was born to an unmarried mother in 1875 in a Munich maternity home that catered for single and poor mothers, and in which many children and mothers died during labour.

In Inchenhofen, a place of pilgrimage near Augsburg, the actress uncovers a previously unknown ancestress: Theodor's mother and her own great, great-grandmother. Her name was Elisabetha Neubauer and she was just 13 years old when she and her family arrived at the poor house. Aged 19, she too had an illegitimate child, but by 27 she had fled her unbearable surroundings for Munich. Christine Neubauer admires Elisabetha's strength and courage. She too, has had to struggle to get where she is, but in today's age she has vastly different opportunities to make a success of herself and her life.

The emotional journey into the past serves as a lively depiction of contemporary history and simultaneously as a personal portrait of the popular actress.