The Censorship Procedure in Austria, the Czechoslovak Republic and Germany (1920-1933) Censorship Regulations in the Republic of Weimar Czechoslovakia Austria

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Censorship Regulations in the Republic of Weimar

Friedrich Wilhelm Reinhard Mumm

Born on 25th July 1873 in Düsseldorf.

1893 – 1897: Studies Theology, National Economics.

Since 1898 Co-editor of the protestant “Kirchlich-soziale Blätter”.

Since 1900: General secretary of the protestant organisation “Kirchlich-soziale Konferenz (since 1918: “Kirchlich-sozialer Bund”).

1912 – 1932: Member of Reichstag: 1912-1918 for the CSP (Christlich-soziale Partei/ Christian-social Party), 1918-1929 for the DNVP (Deustchnationale Volkspartei / German National People’s Party), 1930-1932 for the CDVd (Christlich-sozialer Volksdienst/ Christian-social People’s Service).

April 1912: Mumm unsuccessfully files a petition to submit moving picture theaters and pubs with gramophones under § 33 a Gewerbeordnung (Commerce Regulation Act), which would mean that running these businesses required licenses. He demands more restricted and centralised regulations for the film system and continues to do so during the following years.

1917: Mumm works as military pastor. During World War I he is an intransigent advocate of territorial annexation.

1918: Member of the constitutional assembly (Nationalversammlung).

Since 1918: In charge of cultural policy of the DNVP, Mumm demands the establishment of film censorship and legal measures against so-called “trash- and dirt literature” (“Schund- und Schmutzliteratur”). He fuels his opposition against the film industry with anti-semitic sentiment.

1921: Release of „Die Lichtbühne. Ein Lichtblick aus den Verhandlungen der Deutschen verfassungsgebenden Nationalversammlung; das neue deutsche Lichtspielgesetz vom 12. Mai 1920 veröffentlicht in Nr. 104 des Reichsanzeigers vom 7. Mai 1920“. Berlin: Deutschnationale Schriftenvertriebsstelle.

1921 – 1928: Chairman of the parliamentary committee for education.

1926: Mumm succeeds in his struggle for the so-called “trash- and dirt law” (Schmutz- und Schundgesetz”). He founds the “Protestant Headquarters against trash and dirt” (“Evangelische Hauptgeschäftsstelle gegen Schmutz und Schund”) to support state authorities in enforcing the law.

Since 1920? 26?: Member of the Berlin Film Censorship Headquarters [correspondence]. As a censor, Mumm acts according to the interests of the protestant church [correspondence]. Overstretching his competences, he uses his status as censor to urge the production firm Deulig [correspondence] to exert self-censorship and inspects a movie theatre for violations against youth protection regulations [correspondence].

1929: Mumm leaves the DNVP because of political differences after Alfred Hugenberg became party leader. His critique of some of the publications of the Scherl Verlag, owned by Hugenberg, is part of these differences.

25th August 1932: Mumm dies at the age of 59.

Cf. Wolfgang Mühl-Benninghaus, “Reinhard Mumm – der ‘Vater’ des Lichtspiel- und des Schmutz- und Schundgesetztes in der Weimarer Republik”, in Beiträge zur Film- und Fernsehwissenschaft 34 (1988), pp. 207-220.

Norbert Friedrich, “Reinhard Mumm”, in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, Vol. 6 (1993), columns 348-352,

Ernst Seeger

Born on 20th December 1884 in Mannheim, son of Court Counsellor Ernst Seeger.

Attends the Königliche Wilhelms-Gymnasium Berlin. Studies Law in Berlin.

1912: Graduates in Heidelberg.

1914: Assessor at the district court (Landgericht) Berlin II.

1915: Seeger makes his first experiences with film censorship working for the
attorney general’s staff. He is concerned with matters of censorship and film.

October 1916: Transfer to the Military Office of the Foreign Ministry (Auswäriges Amt). Then civil servant in the administration of the Bild-und Filmamt (BUFA).

May 1919 – March 1923: Head of the Reichsfilmstelle of the Ministry of Interior. [pay slip]

1920: Seeger is significantly involved in formulating and commenting on the
Reich Moving Picture Law.

Since 1921: Works as additionally as Censor. He becomes deputy chairman of the
Film-Oberprüfstelle (Censorship Heaquarters).

1923: Release of „Reichslichtspielgesetz vom 12. Mai 1920 [...] Für die Praxis

March 1924: Seeger becomes chairman of the Film-Oberprüfstelle.

1929: Appointed assistant secretary (Ministerialrat).

1930: Consultant with the Reichsamt für Landesaufnahme.

1930: Seeger is at the center of intesifying debates about film censorship,
cumulating in (temporary) prohibitions of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN and

1932: Release of the 2nd edition of “Reichslichtspielgesetz“. Comments on use by Ernst Seeger.

13th March 1933: Seeger becomes head of Section V: Film of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda. [press article]

April 1933: The film quota section (Kontingentstelle), in charge of treatment of foreign films in Germany, comes under Seeger’s authority.

20th April 1934: On occasion of Hitlers birthday edition of “Laws and Regulations of the National Government for the German Film Industry”.

June 29th 1937: Goebbels appoints Seeger head of the film section of the
Commission for Preservation of Contemporary Documents, which is in charge of
collecting documents associated with the Third Reich.

17th August 1937 Seeger dies in Berlin at the age of 53. [press article]

Cf. Hans-Michael Bock, „Ernst Seeger – Jurist, Zensor“, in CineGraph. Lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film (munich: edition text & kritik, 1977ff, fascicle 20).

by Georg Eckes


Source Edition urrogat Production Introduction Censorship Regulations Battleship Potemkin Horror Films Conclusion Bibliography