New documentary tells the story of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen

The 45 minute documentary pays tribute to the founder of co-operative banking

To celebrate the 200th anniversary since the birth of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, the International Raiffeisen Union (IRU) has shared a documentary paying tribute to the founder of co-operative banking.

The 45-minute video describes how Raiffeisen provided a vision for people in rural areas of Germany, developing a particalar form of rural co-operatives that still functions today. The story is narrated from the perspective of Raiffaisen’s eldest daughter, Amalie, who devoted her life to supporting her father’s work, having to renounce her own marriage and children to do so.

The documentary shows Raiffeisen as a father and mayor, as well as the founder of a movement. It includes comments from historians and people active in the co-operative or banking sector.

Biographer Michael Klein, of the University of Heidelberg, explains how 1846-1847 marked a big famine in Europe, which led Raiffeisen to set up a bread society as a co-operative association.

Also featured in the documentary, Stefan Karnet, historian at the University of Kratz notes that farmers had to learn how to be successful in the marketplace – and that gaining access to loans posed a great challenge. The system was dominated by loan sharks who were loaning at interest rates of up to 80%. To address the problem, Raiffaisen created credit co-operatives for the farmers. Later on he published a book containing the premises for an agricultural co-operative bank. The model influenced the creation of similar co-operative banks in the Netherlands and Germany.

Related: Co-op banks celebrate Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen’s 200th birthday

Directed by directed by Mena Scheuba-Tempfer, the film was produced by the Inspiris Haschek Film GmbH from Vienna.

The short film, which is available in English and German, film was realised in co-operation with the Austrian Raiffeisen Association and DGRV – German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation and was supported by other IRU member organisations. IRU is an association of national co-operative bodies that work based on ideas based on the principles set out by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen.

A seven-minute trailer has already been released. The full 45-minute documentary can be accessed by contacting Mandy Pampel at [email protected].