Neunter Leichtathletik Länderkampf Baden Elsass 1937


Reference / film number :  LFS00244
Date :  1937
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:11:25
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Documentary
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The title alone makes it clear what this cinematic documentary with a length of 11½ minutes is about. It tries meticulously to record all aspects and competitions with the camera. There were probably even several cameras in use if, for example, the start and the finish run were recorded during the short-distance runs. The quality of the images is very different, sometimes good, in other cases underexposed or overexposed. Some shots are out of focus and still made it into the finished film. In some sequences, slow motion is used to study the movement of athletes in detail. The 44 tablets, which make up almost half of the film, are very dominant. They perform several functions. They provide information about the next sport discipline and the winners. At the same time, the additions to the name make it clear whether the athletes come from Baden or Alsace. Since not everyone adheres to the dress code, the Baden people in a white T-shirt with an eagle, the Alsatians in a dark T-shirt, this is helpful. In addition, the tablets provide information about the course of the duel, thereby creating a tension about who will win. But this is already revealed on the starting board. Sometimes they allow themselves ironic commentary to serve the entertainment as well. Some of the sports appear multiple times, so the movie doesn't follow the chronology of events. The film begins in the town hall with the greeting of the athletes by the Mayor of Lahr Dr. Winter - a table will later refer to him as "Baden's most sporty mayor" - and by NSDAP district leader Richard Burk. Vice President Jacob from Colmar thanks the athletes from Alsace. All speakers are clumsily picked up from the side behind plant decoration and underexposed; the corresponding lighting for interiors was probably missing. The pan over "the teams as attentive listeners" shows them rather grumpy and impatient waiting for the competition. The march into the sports field of the Lahr soccer club 03 (LFV) at the Dammermühle takes place behind the tricolor and swastika flag. The Baden athletes all show the Hitler salute to the national anthem. The sporting competitions start with a false start in the 100 m run. In addition to various running distances (200 m, 400 m, 800 m, 1,500 m, 5,000 m), you can see hurdlers, discus and javelin throwers, shot puters, high and long jumpers and two relay teams. The sports field is very well attended, both the grandstand and the standing room along the lanes. The comparative battles between Alsace and Baden started in 1928, ten years after the end of the First World War already. This is surprising, since the relationship after the German occupation could have been disturbed. However, many sports clubs were founded by the Germans and therefor there were intensive personal contacts between the athletes in the French Alsace and Baden. In 1928 sporting encounters were possible again, until 1954 this was limited to meetings of male athletes. The first international match took place in Strasbourg and Alsace won just under 71:69. A Baden newspaper commented: "The team from Baden made an excellent impression in Alsace and rarely was the criticism of a sporting event more favorable than just the meeting of Alsace - Baden" (Athletik-Antenne, 1928). The comparative battles took place alternately in Strasbourg and a Baden city (Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Baden-Baden) until 1942. In 1954 this event was resumed for five years. Then it paused 28 years and was started again in 1987. In 1937 the competition was in Lahr for the first time. The comparative fight took place again in Lahr two years later. During the greeting, Mayor Dr. Winter commented on the politically tense situation: "For the 11th time, the best athletes from the Grenzgau Baden and our Alsatian neighboring country meet today to measure their strength in peaceful and knightly fighting and to fight honestly and decently for victory . (…) Today you are guests of a people and a city that lies hard on the border of the Reich, in a landscape in which the pulse of a people can be seen particularly clearly and vividly. During your stay you should get the impression and take home that the German people, despite the cries of war and a certain anti-German press, respect and appreciate the French people and that we sincerely wish to share with our neighbors in the West, with whom we have so much connection to live the best of understanding, as we see realized at today's sporting meeting. So today’s peaceful competition will in turn build bridges between two great peoples and facilitate communication between them. ”(Lahrer Zeitung, August 4th, 1939). The German attack on Poland followed four weeks later, marking the beginning of the Second World War. Kay Hoffmann


SALUT, Nachklänge zu Baden–Elsaß, in: Athletik-Antenne, 1928; N.N., „Im Geiste sportlicher Kameradschaft und nachbarlicher Freundschaft!“, in: Lahrer Zeitung, 4.8.1939; WAGNER, KURT, 100 Jahre Leichtathletik in Baden 1899 – 1998, Badischer Leichtathletikverband (Herausgeber), Karlsruhe 1998

  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.