Verbotene Bilder, manipulierte Filme 

Alexis Granowsky, Das Lied vom Leben, D 1931
Alle Zensurentscheidungen im Überblick
Auswahl von 30 repräsentativen "Fällen"

Benutzungshinweis: PDF-Dateien

Verbotene Photos (DIF)
Komm. Linksammlung



Edition of German Film Censorship Documents 1920-1938

The Deutsches Filminstitut-DIF, which is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF), edits a collection of film censorship documents from the Film-Oberprüfstelle Berlin. This special institution, a department of the Ministery of the Interior, was founded 1920 as final arbitrator of whether a film could or could not be distributed and shown throughout Germany. The institution was closed in 1938.  During the „Third Reich" film censorship changed from the practice of censorship of finished films into a scrutiny, by the Ministry of Propaganda, of the entire process of film production. During the Weimar Republic both producers/distributers and the several countries of the German Reich had the legal right to protest against licences or bans expressed by the two censorship institutions in Berlin („Filmprüfstelle Berlin") and Munich („Filmprüfstelle München"). These licences constituted the basis for distributing and screening pictures in public cinemas. Some of the censorship processes lasted for over a year e.g. in the famous cases of S.M.Eisensteins „Panzerkreuzer Potemkin" (1925/26), G.W.Pabsts „Die freudlose Gasse" (1925) or S.Dudows and Bert Brechts „Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt?" (1932/33). During the court of the Filmoberprüfstelle discussed licences, bans or shortening advices local police stations were allowed to stop the performance of a film.
The collection that is now edited contains documents on 844 films produced and distributed between 1918 and 1938. The facsimiles of the documents are edited in PDF-files. Each film in this edition is documented with information on variations of the title, with credits, cast and censorship data (length, date of the license, number of the license, date of premiere). The archive gives an excellent impression of which sequences of the films (especially silent films) were to be edited out or which films were banned. By reading these documents it is possible to study the structure of the argument for or against a license. They also give an impression of how a democratic institution step by step tends to identify itself with structures of totalitarianism. 
In many cases the documents tell nearly the whole story of the film therefore they can also be used to identify unknown films saved by international archives and, in addition to this, can tell film researchers something about the special tradition of existing films. Last but not least they are relevant for restoration projects. Some of the documents, e.g. the decisions concerning L. Milestones „All Quiet on the Western Front/Im Westen nichts Neues" (1930) came from the federal archives of Sachsen and Bavaria; as far as it was nessessary to complete our own documents to reconstruct a censorship process at the whole, we integrate them into our edition.
In addition to the general edition of the previously mentioned documents we have selected a representative corpus of 25 films (German, American, Russian and French productions) - famous cases or canonic works of the film history. These titles are exposed by a representative documentation of the contemporary reviews (critical texts published in newspapers and film journals), by stills saved in our own collection, short descriptions of the plot and  biographical portraits of the directors.
An essay concerning the general German practice of film censorship in this period, the discussion of the legal basis of censorship in the first German democracy and a bibliography on film censorship in Germany will complete our edition.

Ursula von Keitz
project leader

A list of the films is available.

Further Informations: 
Claudia Dillmann, Tel. 069/961 220-21
Ursula von Keitz, Tel. 069/961 220-11