Newsreels and Commissioned Productions, Federal Press Office 1945-1999
The history of cinema newsreels goes back to the early days of moving images. In the 1920s these weekly newsreels became part of the regular program in European cinemas, where they were shown before the feature film. As television sets and daily television news became increasingly ubiquitous these cinema newsreels had become obsolete by the 1970s. More information about the history of (cinema) newsreels can be found here.
The German Federal Archives Digital Film Collection presents the newsreels of the German Federal Republic from 1945 to the 1970s as well as productions that had been commissioned by the Federal Press Office between 1945 and 1999. All of them are available for commercial exploitation as well as for the non-profit use for educational purposes.
This collection comprises
- Welt im Film (369 issues, 1945-52)
- Welt im Bild (213 issues, 1952-56)
- UFA-Wochenschau / UFA-Dabei (1092 issues, 1956-68/1968-77)
- Neue Deutsche Wochenschau / Die Zeit unter der Lupe (short: Zeitlupe) (1022 issues, 1950-69)
the periodicals that were produced for foreign countries:
- Deutschlandspiegel (1954-99)
- El Mundo al Instante (1962-92)
- O Mundo em Noticias (1965-79).
The collection also holds approx. 400 cultural and special programs as well as leftover material from the above listed (commissioned) Federal Press Office productions, that had not been used, but some of which had been coupled.
Welt im Film / Welt im Bild
The Welt im Film was produced in London before the surrender in 1945, for the American and British sectors (see also chapter on the History of Newsreels). Initially it was only distributed within the American occupation zone, and after August 1, 1945 also throughout the British Zone. In September of 1945 the production offices moved to the American-occupied Bavaria Film Studios in Munich. Sam Winston, US-film officer, and British film officers headed the newsreel production. The British Film Section in Hamburg and a subsidiary in Düsseldorf provided material from the British Zone. The German camera team worked under Anglo-American supervision.
The British relocated their reporting activities to Hamburg and then discontinued the Wochenschau altogether, on June 1, 1950, with episode 260. Afterwards the Americans offered the title “Welt im Bild” to their soldiers in Germany. This newsreel would run until 1951.
Since the US-state department had not budgeted for the production of a weekly newsreel in 1952 a new producer was needed (Der Spiegel 27/1952). Thus in August 1952, German audiences were able to watch the new newsreel “Welt im Bild”, which was produced by the Neue Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH until 1956. The “UFA-Wochenschau” became its successor, once the shares of Allianz Film Distribution went to UFA (new).
Neue Deutsche Wochenschau / Zeitlupe
The British occupation force backed out of the newsreel production in 1949 and the allied forces lost their monopoly of newsreels in 1950. The Neue Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH and its own production “Neue Deutsche Wochenschau” filled this gap. In 1951 it fused with “Welt im Film”. The reconstruction of Germany, the Nuremberg Trials and the Cold War were hot topics in the beginning, but everyday life, sports and entertainment also played a big role in the quest of finding a new postwar identity (see also the chapter on the history of newsreels).
The journal Film-Echo reviewed the four German newsreels several times. According to such a review the “Neue Deutsche Wochenschau” provided the broadest and most innovative spectrum with a focus on domestic topics (situation in the Ruhr region, the Hamburg flood catastrophe, the borders to the Eastern Sector, strikes, student revolts, etc). But the reports also went beyond the national borders and explored events in Europe and the entire world (nuclear testing, Hungarian uprising, space exploration, etc.).
When Bavaria Filmverleih stopped its distribution of “Neue Deutsche Wochenschau” the distribution was taken over by the newly founded Schorcht Filmverleih, who renamed the show “Die Zeit unter der Lupe” (short: Zeitlupe). Production of Zeitlupe was discontinued in 1969 after Nora Distribution, which had eventually taken over the distribution, had collapsed.
UFA-Wochenschau / UFA-Dabei
In 1956 Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH in Hamburg began production of the UFA newsreel, replacing „Welt im Bild“ (see chapter „Welt im Film/Welt im Bild“). A new sober journalism style tried to create a new image that would set this newsreel apart from the newsreels of the occupying forces as well as from loud and flashy magazines. The name also meant to evoke the golden 1920s, the birth years of the UFA.
The UFA-Wochenschau was renamed one last time with newsreel number 600, on January 23, 1968, with the hopes of selling subscriptions to movie-theater-owners and luring the audience back to the cinema. The newly named “UFA-Dabei” was geared towards the younger generation. The updated content of this newsreel dealt with music, celebrities, fashion, entertainment, crime reports and whatever topic might be interesting to young people. The 1968 Revolution received broad coverage. Topics, such as the Contergan trial, German development aid and the landing on the moon in 1969 were produced specifically with a young audience in mind. Despite the variety of its subjects in the later years and the immense efforts the newsreel “UFA-Dabei” was not able to withstand the changed media landscape and the expectation of its audience. At the end of 1977 “UFA-Dabei” was shut down for good.
The Federal Press Office (see chapter on Federal Press Office) commissioned the Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH to produce the monthly magazine “Deutschlandspiegel” from 1954 to 1999. Its main function was to portray the German Federal Republic abroad. From 1970 on this series was produced in color.
El Mundo al Instante / O Mundo em Noticias
The Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH also produced the foreign newsreels El Mundo al Instante (Spanish) and O Mundo em Noticias (Portuguese). Our collection contains El Mundo issues from 1962-1992 and O Mundo issues from 1965-1979.
Documentaries / Cultural Films
The Federal Press Office commissioned numerous documentary films about political and social topics—specifically for the self-portrayal of the German Federal Republic abroad. In particular this meant accompanying the German chancellors on their domestic and international travels, e.g. „Adenauer visits Kennedy“, 1961. However, social issues such as „German Armed Forces between mandate and society“ or „Computer in Medical Science“ were not left out.
History of our Collection
The newsreels and the Federal Press Office commissions between 1945 and 2004 are considered official historical records, since they were produced by a federally owned company, the Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, and partially commissioned by the Federal Press Office, a federal agency. Thus the Federal Republic of Germany owns the copyrights. The German Wochenschau GmbH was in charge of the commercial exploitation of the collection from 1990 to 2013. Since January 2014 Transit Film GmbH was entrusted with the for-profit exploitation of the collection. The German Federal Archives deals with all non-profit exploitation.
Information for Exploitation
The information provided under “Contents” is based on promotional material from Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH. Usually it contains a brief summary (in the case of newsreels per each report), sometimes the speaker’s texts and a description of the image content.
English speaker texts are available for the newsreel Welt im Film (WIF). El Mundo al instante comes with Spanish and O Mundo em Noticias with Portuguese speaker texts and brief summaries in German.
Since these are historical texts some of the terminology is no longer commonly used.
There is an index for persons, places and subject matters for the entire collection.
Citation Methoda) Citation Rules for Streaming Files
[Title of the work], German Federal Archives, Film Collection: [Videolink]b) Citation Rules for Copies (Films, Excerpts, Stills)
The streaming file of UFA newsreel 414/1964 is cited as follows:
UFA newsreel 414/1964, German Federal Archives, Film Collection:
The signature, which is relevant for the citation of copies, will be shown in the opening credits of the provided file/the image border of the provided still.
The copy of a film/film clip/film still from UFA newsreel 414/1964 or the film “Der 85. Geburtstag des Bundeskanzlers“ (1961) is cited as follows:
UFA newsreel 414/1964, Source: German Federal Archives, Film Collection: F 001711
Der 85. Geburtstag des Bundeskanzlers, 1961, Source: German Federal Archives, Film Collection: F 002654
FUHRMANN, Hans-Peter, Ähnlichkeiten in der Form, aber Brüche bei den Konzeptionen. Die Wochenschauen in Deutschland 1939-1950, in: Johannes Roschlau (Hg.), Träume in Trümmern. Film-Produktion und Propaganda in Europa 1940-1950, München 2009, 23-34.
HOFFMANN, Kay, Wochenschau, in: HISTORISCHES LEXIKON BAYERNS, URL: http://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/artikel/artikel_46365 (Zugriff am 19.3.2014)
LEHNERT, Sigrun, Wochenschau und Tagesschau in den 1950er Jahren, Konstanz 2013.
ROEBER, Georg / JACOBY, Gerhard, Handbuch der filmwirtschaftlichen Medienbereiche, Pullach 1973.
SCHWARZ, Uta, Wochenschau, westdeutsche Identität und Geschlecht in den fünfziger Jahren, Frankfurt am Main 2002.
ZIMMERMANN, Peter (Hrsg.), Geschichte des dokumentarischen Films in Deutschland. 3 Bände, Stuttgart 2005.
a) Related written material from the German Federal Archives collection
B 145 Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung (Bundespresseamt / (BPA) (Engl.: Press and Information Office of the Federal Government (Federal Press Office))
(i.a. files on informational films from the 1950s through 1970s, that were made in cooperation with German newsreel producers, files on the involvement of the Federal Republic of Germany, planning and production costs “Deutschlandspiegel”)
B 106 Bundesministerium des Inneren (Engl.: Federal Ministry of the Interior)
(i.a. shares of Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, but also human resource matters, audits, founding, legal matters, DW and NDW, repatriating German newsreels and films from the USA, transfer of the film rights of the old Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH i.L. and other film rights to Federal Republic 1959-1969, funding of German newsreels (resolution of the German Bundestag December 1, 1967).
B 126 Bundesministerium für Finanzen (Engl.: Federal Ministry of Finance)
(i.a. national holdings of the Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH and buyback of shares by the Federal Republic of Germany)
B 326 Abwicklungsstellen für Reichs- und Staatsvermögen (Engl.: Settlement Offices for State Owned Assets)
(i.a. Neue Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, Hamburg, 1950-1954)
B 115 Bundesvermögensverwaltung (Engl.: Federal Property Administration)
(i.a. Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH partial privatization.- sale of federally owned shares to UFA and BAVARIA)
B 136 Bundeskanzleramt (Engl.: German Chancellery)
(i.a. Neue Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH.- shareholdings, federal aid, transfer of the film rights of the Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, UFA demerger, i.a., Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, Hamburg, list of members of the supervisory committee and administration in B 136/5904)
B 102 Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft (Engl.: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs)
(i.a. settlement and demerger of former state owned film assets, such as UFA newsreel, documents of the supervisory committee of Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH)
b) Additional Audiovisual History
Picture Database/Digital Picture Archives of the German Federal Archives
The German Federal Archives keeps approx. 11 million images, aerial photographs and posters on German history. The earliest photographs date back to the year 1860. The focus of this database is events and persons. The Digital Picture Archives (https://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/dba/en/) of the German Federal Archives contain a representative cross section of more than 200,000 images. Federal Press Office owned photos are stored here as well.