JUNIOR AND THE SWAN

Almost ten years after the fall of the Wall, three US citizens are convicted of spying for East Germany. What motivation did these three agents have, and why did they believe they were fighting for a just cause?

October 1998. In the last Cold War spy trial, three US citizens were convicted of working as agents for East Germany: Kurt Stand ("Junior"), his wife Theresa Squillacote ("Swan"), and James Clark ("the Professor"). The verdict ended their long careers as "Kundschafter". Very few Americans sympathised with Communist East Germany. Spying for the country was unthinkable. Why did these three individuals believe they were fighting for a just cause? Kurt Stand's parents fled from Nazi Germany to the US where his father became an important source of information for the East German government. He remained undetected all his life. Stand's parents also put their son in contact with the East German intelligence. "Junior" was instructed to search for collaborators, and he found the "Swan" and the "Professor". They were trained in spying techniques and expected to infiltrate high levels of the US power structure. This film was 16 years in the making and developed into a unique story about the fall of the Wall. It meets the agents, their handlers, relatives and friends, and features one of the last interviews with legendary singer Pete Seeger. A spy tale, a story about lost hope and betrayal, mistakes and misjudgements, idealism and naiveté.

Genre History
Length 90' / 52' HD
Film by Konrad Ege, Daniel & Jürgen Ast
Production astfilm productions in coproduction with RBB
Original Title Junior und der Schwan
Year 2014

01_Brandenburger Tor (MfS-ZOS-4043-Seite-0008-Bild-0023) 04_Screenshot - Famile Stand 50er Jahre
02_Screenshot - Folklegende Pete Seeger 03_Screen Ostberlin - 03

Almost ten years after the fall of the Wall, three US citizens are convicted of spying for East Germany. What motivation did these three agents have, and why did they believe they were fighting for a just cause?

October 1998. In the last Cold War spy trial, three US citizens were convicted of working as agents for East Germany: Kurt Stand (“Junior”), his wife Theresa Squillacote (“Swan”), and James Clark (“the Professor”). The verdict ended their long careers as “Kundschafter”. Very few Americans sympathised with Communist East Germany. Spying for the country was unthinkable. Why did these three individuals believe they were fighting for a just cause? Kurt Stand’s parents fled from Nazi Germany to the US where his father became an important source of information for the East German government. He remained undetected all his life. Stand’s parents also put their son in contact with the East German intelligence. “Junior” was instructed to search for collaborators, and he found the “Swan” and the “Professor”. They were trained in spying techniques and expected to infiltrate high levels of the US power structure. This film was 16 years in the making and developed into a unique story about the fall of the Wall. It meets the agents, their handlers, relatives and friends, and features one of the last interviews with legendary singer Pete Seeger. A spy tale, a story about lost hope and betrayal, mistakes and misjudgements, idealism and naiveté.

Length 90’/52’ HD
Film by Konrad Ege, Daniel & Jürgen Ast
Co-Production astfilm productions in coproduction with RBB, 2014
Original title Junior und der Schwan