Urlaunsreise durch Europa (LFS01193)

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Private film of holiday journeys in Germany, Switzerland and Italy.


Freudenstadt in the Black Forest: City church / Marketplace / Fountain of Neptun / Woman at fountain / People with skis on shoulders / Baden-Baden health resort: Street with trees at the Kurhaus / Street scene with collegiate church / Building with swastika flags / Flowering crocuses and shrubs / Woman on bench playing with terrier / River Oos / Zurich: Swiss national exhibition "Landi" with permanent flag and amusement park on the exhibition site: Landi - Schwebebahn / Schifflibach with small boats / ferris wheel, small trains / promenade "Höhenstraße" with a white, strikingly large sculpture on the banks of the Zurich Sees / numerous exhibition visitors / Sheep and goats with shepherds on forest path / Alpine panorama / Entrance to Hotel Bellevue Simplon-Kulm on the Simplon Pass /


Reference / film number :  LFS01193
Date :  Between 1938 and 1939
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:05:28
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Thermalism, The Rhine, cross-border symbol, Cross-border tourism, Local festivals
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The cityscapes are lined up: Freudenstadt, Baden-Baden, Zurich, followed by the Swiss Alps on the Simplon Pass. The private film gathers impressions in their diversity - and leaves them with the foreign that meets the traveler. The film shows the flip side of what vacation under National Socialism should be: promoting the national community, visual lessons that make a superior 'fatherland' visible, presented by travel guides trained in part. In November 1933, the leisure activity 'Kraft durch Freude' (KdF) (Strenth through Joy) was founded, which was to serve the strengthening and edification of the German people with local and long-distance travel. It was aimed at workers and employees to whom Adolf Hitler had now granted two to three weeks' vacation. What until then only the upper class could afford was also granted to the working class. KdF was a sub-organization of the German Labor Front with which Hitler could integrate the lower classes into the social reorganization of the Nazi state. The Office for Travel, Hiking and Vacation was responsible for organizing the KdF trips, which carried seven million tourists between 1934 and 1939. The largest part were day trips and hikes, which were already available for five Reichsmarks. Winter trips brought better utilization of the ski resorts and, in the view of the Nazi regime, served a healthy, high-performing people in a special way. The ship trips to Norway, Italy or Greece, which included party propaganda, became a synonym for the KdF holiday. This private film eludes this ideological capture of free time. The town church of Freudenstadt comes into view like a silhouette. Vacationers with skis are part of everyday life. The pan from the Neptune fountain ends on a sports car convertible and the elegant lady in front of it comes into the picture with her terrier dog. Freudenstadt, the popular climatic health resort in the Black Forest: A little holiday story could start here - but the film digresses again. A young boy draws attention as he stands lost in the evening sun. A last city view of Freudenstadt - and the film jumps into brightly lit Baden-Baden on the promenade in the spa colonnades. Impressions of vacation spots follow one another and make their own atmosphere palpable. Baden-Baden, the fashionable spa town near the French border: the synagogue had also been destroyed there in 1938, but before that the NSi regime refrained from persecuting Jews in the Weltbad. Baden-Baden served as a 'visiting card' for Germany: foreign guests should have the opportunity to convince themselves of the orderly course of events in the NS state. The film seems to capture something of this openness. The swastika flags at the Kurhaus almost disappear behind the hustle and bustle. The constant movement of the walkers creates an atmospheric space in which only the black terrier reappears and ensures a little continuity. The impressions stand for themselves, gather along the flaneurs' movement, which leads to the Lichtentaler Allee and the river Oos, which glistens picturesquely in the spring sun. Zurich, Swiss National Exhibition 1939: Another world in color appears with a hard cut. There has been color in amateur film since the mid-1930s, but the seemingly realistic medium increasingly immerses the exhibition site in the atmosphere of an art world. The 'Landi' was opened on May 6, 1939. Switzerland presented its modern and traditional side at the lower lake basin of Lake Zurich. The film adheres to the optically attractive left side of the lake with the latest achievements from industry, technology and science. A cable car crosses the distance of 900 meters between the two lake sides, which was a world record at the time. Through the air with the cable car at a height of 75 meters; or - another attraction, designed by engineers from ETH Zurich - on water in the Schifflibach at 1,600 meters in length, past the exhibition pavilions. The sculpture “Boy and Horse” by Zurich artist Otto Charles Bänninger sets a counterpoint in the traditional style on the central square. For Switzerland, the exhibition itself should be a symbol of the country's intellectual defense against the aggressive annexation policy of the Nazi regime. The Second World War began during the exhibition.

The trip to the Zugspitze was a highlight for the KdF travelers. The journey of the better-heeled holidaymakers in the film leads to the Simplon Pass in the Swiss Alps, which connects the Rhone valley in the canton of Valais with Italy at an altitude of 2,005 meters. The harsh mountain world stands out in its visual appearance: a herd of Valais black-nosed sheep on the street or the peaks with sparse snow in black and white contrast. The elegant lady from the beginning in Freudenstadt enters the Bellevue Hotel Kulm, as she happened to get into the film again. Just like, quite suddenly, the color image at the end with a Mediterranean hotel between palm trees.

Reiner Bader

Places and monuments

Freudenstadt, Baden-Baden, Zürich

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