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Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1930s

Berlin in the 1930s (Man drinking beer - screenshot from Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936)

Photo: Still from ‘Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936’

Berlin in the 1930s was witness to Hitler’s rise to power as Chancellor of Germany and subsequently many shockingly destructive and despicable acts like the book burning of 1933 and the Kristallnacht in 1938.  Continuing my Twentieth Century Berlin on Film series here are a few short videos that show Berlin in the 1930s.

Summer Holidays in Berlin (1930)

Despite the political changes and the economic difficulties in the country it is important to remember that it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Berlin.  In this clip, Berliners head out to enjoy the sunshine at the Wannsee.

Büchverbrennung (Book Burning) 1933

This clip from a documentary by the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum) shows the book burning at the Opernplatz (now Bebelplatz) in Berlin.

Goebbels denounces the authors of ‘un-German’ books as soldiers and students throw thousands of volumes onto a large bonfire.  Today a simple monument of empty shelves commemorates the events of 10 May 1933.

Alt-Berlin: Berlin – Wie es war

Alt-Berlin: Berlin – Wie es war (Old Berlin:Berlin – How it was) follows a horse and cart tour around the city with lots of information about the buildings and statues and life in Berlin in German.

Jesse Owens – 1936 Olympics

Given Hitler’s conviction of the superiority of the Aryan Race it is ironic that Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936

A Nazi propaganda film, Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936 showcases Berlin and it’s many landmark buildings in colour – some no longer stand like the Stadtschloss and others like the Berliner Dom and Reichstag have undergone changes.

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One Response to Twentieth Century Berlin on Film – The 1930s

  1. notmsparker 30 April, 2013 at 15:00 #

    In the film showing the books being burnt on May 10th one of the students reading out their “manifestos” shouts out: “Ich übergebe der Flamme die Schriften von Heinrich Mann, Ernst Glaeser und Erich Kästner!” (in 1´18´´ of this recording) – Erich Kästner, the author of, among others, some of the best and widely known children´s books in German was actually there! He was the only one of the “burnt writers” who witnessed the violent destruction of his own works. He left quietly when somebody finally recognised him…
    Btw, an often overlooked fact: those were not the Nazis (as in propaganda department of SA) who organised the burning of the books but Berlin university students. Goebbels did not have to do a thing, in fact. It was all done for him. He was a guest of honour, so to say.

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