Note on the Documentation of National-Socialist Period Films on


The total control of the German film industry was further pursued through interventions in its corporatist structure, reform of the Film Law, and through changes to the system of censorship and ratings. The actual nationalization of the film industry took place gradually and covertly until on January 10, 1942 all state-owned film companies were united in a single holding company, Ufa-Film GmbH.

But not only film production, distribution, and exhibition was subject to state control and intervention; film criticism, too, was affected. As early as 1933 the film press was officially put under Joseph Goebbels' personal control, and in 1936 the criticism and individual evaluation of films were outlawed by decree. In place of film criticism came "film observation", which was limited to the description of films acceptable to the regime and the dissemination of propagandistic hate speech.

In order to account for this particular historical background, all German film productions or co-productions that premiered between 1933 and 1945 are labeled on uniformly as Films of the National-Socialist Period. This is to draw attention to the fact that the content, contemporary materials, distinctions, and ratings of a particular film must be seen independently of the work itself and as part of the history of National-Socialist production and reception.

This necessary uniformity means that the occasional exceptions to the rule are identified as part of the National-Socialist film legacy as well, such as, for example, Reinhold Schünzel's "Viktor und Viktoria" (Victor and Victoria, 1933), which is both an innovative comedy in the spirit of the Weimar Republic and one of its last echoes in the period of National-Socialism. Likewise, this uniform identification marks productions that have never before been received as propaganda- or "Nazi films". This is the case above all for the ostensibly apolitical popular films, which remain old favorites even today but need to be viewed in the ideological context of the National-Socialist dictatorship.