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5 November, 1948: Minister Peter Krauland and his co-worker, Margarethe Ottillinger, are crossing the border between the American and Soviet occupation zones on the Enns Bridge.
What they don't know is that the Soviet border soldiers have orders to arrest the young woman. In spite of her youth, 28-year-old sectional supervisor, Margarethe Ottillinger, is a key figure in Austria's economy after the Second World War. Right in front of the minister, she is arrested by the Soviets.
Then there are charges and sentencing: aiding an escape, spying for the Americans.
Her arrest became the most spectacular case of abductions by the Soviet occupation force in the young 2nd republic. It preoccupied the media, the public and the government.
Seven years after her sentencing as a spy, Margarethe Ottillinger returned to Austria. She had suffered for a long time. Seven years imprisonment in a prison and work camp, seven years of deprivation, illness, seven years between life and death. She returned as a different person, knowing of the unfathomable depths of human nature, but also of the strength of solidarity.
Why was Ms Ottillinger arrested? Why was the young civil servant, who shared responsibility for the rebuilding of Austria, so dangerous for the Soviet Union that they wanted her to disappear at any price?
The background to the Ottillinger case has been hidden for decades in Moscow archives. The Austrian historian, Stefan Karner, has unearthed the closed, secret documents. Making use of interrogation records that have been found, research at original locations and conversations with experts, the Ottillinger case can now be completely reconstructed for the first time.
It brings to light the unbelievable: Margarethe Ottillinger was a victim of the Cold War. The struggle for power between East and West. But also a victim of a world where she had built her career too quickly...
TV documentary for ORF Universum History
45 min., HD
A film by Klaus T. Steindl