Reise Schweiz Mosel Rhein

Revision as of 17:57, 19 March 2021 by Kay Hoffmann (talk | contribs)



Various trips to Switzerland, along the Rhine and the Moselle


Title: Travel to Switzland September 8th and. 9th, 1933/4 days before Kate's 13th birthdays / Girl runs across meadow, house with 'Kinder-Kurheim Adelboden' in background; Children look out of windows, girls with cats; Pan over mountain panorama, cows on country road; Man at the village fountain; Sea promenade <presumably Wolfgangsee>; Driving by car over mountain road, driving record, mountain landscape with stream and Lake; Pass with chapel, passing train, glacier <probably Aletsch glacier, Valais (Switzerland)>; Pass road, mountain village, Hochalm with animals, mountain landscape; Zurich: Houses on the Limmat; Girls in front of a ski hut, cross-country skiing through a winter landscape in the Black Forest, girls in a Black Forest parlor, sleigh rides;

Trier: Main market with St. Gangolf, Porta Nigra, St. Petrus Cathedral, old town alleys, thermal baths, stone bridge over the Moselle, load crane; Trip through Trier and along the Moselle; Car ferry; Pan across the Moselle landscape; Bernkastel-Kues: View from the Moselle, old town alleys, walk through the vineyards, Landshut castle ruins, panning over Bernkastel and the Moselle valley; Ruined castle Metternich near Beilstein, drive by car through the Moselle valley, car ferry, terrace of an excursion restaurant; Eltz Castle; Drive by car through the Moselle valley; Deutsches Eck in Koblenz, ships on the Rhine; Koblenz: inner city, Electoral Palace, trip along the Rhine: ships on the Rhine, Pfalzgrafenstein Castle in the Rhine, towns in the Rhine Valley; Mainz: city center with a view of the cathedral, memorial for Gustav Stresemann, old town alleys, ships on the Rhine, Gutenberg monument, cathedral, trip over the Rhine bridge; Palace and Palace Park in Schwetzingen;

Drive through alpine mountain landscape, hike to Churfirsten (canton St. Gallen), hiking group at meal, man with mountain map; Drive through alpine mountain landscape, place with bridge over mountain river, waterfall, mountain landscape; Trip through the Danube Valley: Wildenstein Castle, Beuron Monastery etc. Zeppelin on housing estate in Freiburg. //


Reference / film number :  LFS 9303
Date :  1933
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Timecode :  00:08:08
Running time :  00:00:00
Film-maker :  Balke, Curt
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Winter sport, Outdoor activities, Cross-border tourism, Heritage and tourism sites
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The black and white, silent private film by the Freiburg architect Curt Balke in 16mm format shows various family trips. Shortly before her daughter Kati's 13th birthday, her parents visit her on September 8th and 9th, 1933 in the Adelboden children's health resort in Switzerland. Together they go on an excursion in their convertible into the mountains as far as Zurich. You can feel their fascination for the landscape with its peaks, glaciers, streams and lakes - even when it is rainy. Since Curt Balke himself can be seen in some of the recordings, his wife or Kati will have filmed him. The camera is often moved and turned out of hand. The second subject is dedicated to her winter sports in the Black Forest. For example, Balke turns the descent with a subjective camera or lets recordings run backwards. The third subject is a journey in her convertible from Trier up the Moselle to Koblenz and then down the Rhine Valley to Mainz and Schwetzingen. The focus of the 16mm film, which was probably made in 1934, is his family and the romantic river landscapes.

In the first half of the 20th century, German tourism was largely based on a love of nature and rural life in the low mountain ranges. The increase in the number of visitors led to tourist measures such as the signposting of hiking trails or the construction of forest inns. The First World War put an end to the first heyday of tourism, due to economic difficulties, lower incomes, formalities for the entry of foreigners, higher rail tariffs, etc. Tourism in Europe had to reinvent itself. In order to keep the clientele, the prices were maintained or even lowered. Similarly, the introduction of vacation pay in Europe in the first half of the 20th century made travel easier for families. Walks and cruises became very popular. The rebuilding of tourism after the war was slow and initially focused on domestic destinations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Between 1933 and 1939, the National Socialists promoted mass travel with their organization 'Kraft durch Freude'.

Wealthy families like Balkes could afford to travel more often, longer and also abroad. They visited Italy as early as 1937 (see film “Urlaub Italien”). Switzerland is a privileged travel destination for them as they enjoy hiking and skiing. In the inter-war period, economic crises prompted public authorities to promote the tourism industry with the state. The founding of the 'Schweizerische Verkehrszentrale' in 1919 is an example of such a renewal. The rail tariffs were reduced and in 1931 the free movement of automobiles with foreign registration was approved. The Balkes use this with their convertible, which is often presented in the pictures in front of the alpine landscape.

The Alps have been a popular travel destination for hikers and nature lovers since the 19th century thanks to the Romantics. In the first half of the 20th century, increasing numbers of ski resorts with hotels and leisure facilities emerged in the mountain regions. From the mid-1920s, numerous tourists came to the Alpine region in summer and winter. As a result, some municipalities carried out modernizations to accommodate tourists appropriately. From the 1930s onwards, some rural residents lived there mainly from tourism. As the cradle of German skiing, the first ski areas opened in the Black Forest as early as 1892, and in 1908 the world's first modern surface lift went into operation. Thanks to the development of winter sports, the tourist season became longer, which was previously limited to just three or four months. Snow was no longer an obstacle to travel, but a destination and a source of fun, as the film shows us. The Balkes enjoy winter sports in the snow-covered landscape, as shown by numerous other films by them.

On the journey along the Moselle and the Rhine, many sights, castles and palaces are visited and shown. In literary works of German Romanticism, this landscape was recognized as a place of longing, and the Middle Rhine in particular became a popular destination. Therefore, the Balkes are by no means alone. But there are also everyday situations such as a car crashed on a ferry that is being rescued. The Moselle valley was less famous, but was popular in the interwar period as the Moselle flows through three countries. Tourist structures were created between Trier and Koblenz. From the end of the 19th century, regular steamship and rail traffic was established on the Rhine, which can be seen in the pictures. The first German Rhine shipping company was founded in Karlsruhe in 1825 and offered passenger and freight transport. The significant economic and cultural area along the Rhine made the river one of the busiest waterways in the world. But Curt Balke's pictures convey a more romantic vision of the cities and the landscapes on the two rivers.

Aline Ruetsch


BOCK, Oliver, Zittern vor der Unesco: Das Mittelrheintal will nicht sein Dresden erleben. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 7.7.2008. Online: (konsultiert 18.12.2020); GYR, Ueli, Geschichte des Tourismus : Strukturen auf dem Weg zur Moderne. In : Europäische Geschichte Online, 3. Dezember 2010 Online: (konsultiert 18.12.2020); HITZ, Rüdiger, Entstehung und Entwicklung des Tourismus im Schwarzwald, Schillinger Verlag, Freiburg, 2011; LOBENHOFE-HIRSCHBOLD, Franziska, Fremdenverkehr (Von den Anfängen bis 1945). In : Historisches Lexikon Bayerns, 10. Juli 2006 Online : (konsultiert 18.12.2020); TISSOT, Laurent: "Tourisme", in: Dictionnaire historique de la Suisse (DHS), version du 25.2.2014. Online: (konsultiert 18.12.2020)

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