Burn Marks — Film Posters from a Salt Mine
Numerous international film posters from the first 40 years of film history were found in a salt mine in Grasleben in 1986, where part of the National Socialists’ Reichsfilmarchiv (Film Archive of the Third Reich) had been stored since 1944–45.
The Reichsfilmarchiv, founded in 1934, was the first centralized state film archive in Germany. Amidst the backdrop of National Socialist propaganda, this institution established an extensive collection of films and fostered international film exchange. During World War II – as the air raids on Germany began to intensify in 1943 – parts of the archive were stored in the dry salt mine in Grasleben, which was considered safe from bomb attacks. Following the Allied victory, American special units infiltrated the salt mine, where they concentrated primarily on taking the film materials with them. A fire severely damaged the rest of the items stored in the mine.
During three inspections in 1986, 2017 and 2019, a large quantity of film advertising materials submitted to the German Film Review Office was recovered, including some 70 film posters. The posters are now available to the public following extensive restoration and digitalization.
Project coordination: Georg Simbeni
Project idea: Rolf Aurich, Peter Mänz, Georg Simbeni
Editing: Julia Schell
Our thanks go to the Bundesarchiv.
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