German Dynasties: The Opels

The Opels only built cars for thirty years, from 1899 to 1929. But in that short period the family managed to permanently transform Germany by building the first people’s car. From a luxury object for millionaires, the Opels created an everyday commodity that gave mobility to the masses.

In “German Dynasties: The Opels”, Opel family members describe how they revolutionized German society with their car factory. But they also reveal how their success changed the life of the family itself. When the family sold the factory in 1929, the Opels became one of the new richest families in Germany. The money attracted the glamour–a famous family member is Gunther Sachs whose mother was born in the Opel family. But the wealth generated more than good fortune–it also brought serious challenges for a few Opel members and almost caused their collapse and failure.

For the first time, family members Carlo von Opel, Gregor von Opel, Christoph von Opel, Countess Ivonne von Schönburg-Glauchau (née von Opel) and Rolf Sachs, Gunter Sachs’s son, talk about the family’s history and speak openly about the darker sides of success and wealth. Previously unreleased color film footage provided by the family offers an intimate keyhole perspective on the life of the Opels.

Length 1 x 45'
Year 2012
Genre Dokumentation
Format 16:9 HDTV
Director Manfred Oldenburg
Boadcast ARD