Kommentare

„I find it appalling that tens of thousands of meters of old film prints, including original negative prints, of pre–safety film motion pictures are being neglected and even destroyed by the Bundesarchiv. Their excuse that a possible spontaneous combustion of nitrate films inside their throughly modern and highly professional storage facility is a lame one, in my opinion. The destruction and permanent loss of NS original prints of such historically important films as Die große Liebe or Stukas, is unforgivable. As a researcher and author on NS films and directors, I wonder if the ‘threat’ of spontaneous combustion and also one about lack of sufficient funds to transfer such prints to safety film, is a way for the BA to conveniently put such troublesome Tendezfilme down the proverbial ‘Memory Hole’ as articulated by George Orwell in his novel, ‘1984’? I have found the BA-Filmarchiv staff to always be wonderfully helpful and thoroughly professional in every way, but I wonder about such a policy being emanated from above? I understand that the film archive has spent hundreds of thousands of euros on the most modern film preservation and transfer equipment, but has not used this laboratory very much at all…. instead of destroying Germany’s film treasure, the energy for a campaign for sufficient funding to rescue and preserve ALL pre-1945 films should be spent. Is the purpose of the Filmarchiv still dedicated to preserve and protect Germany’s film heritage or to oversee its disappearance forever?“

William Gillespie, Autor von Karl Ritter–His Life and ‚Zeitfilms‘ under National Socialism und The Making of ‚The Crew of the Dora.‘ sowie Co-Autor von Film Posters of the Third Reich.
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 „Das Bundesarchiv muss die Nitrofilm-Vernichtung beenden, da jede Digitalisierung und jede Kopierung nur einen Teil des Originals wiedergeben kann. Man wird auch nicht die Mona Lisa vernichten, nur weil es gute Kopien davon gibt, sondern man wird immer wieder auf das Original zurückkommen. In Deutschland ist leider immer noch nicht begriffen worden, dass die Filmkunst die wichtigste Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts ist und mithin diese Originale zu den großen Kostbarkeiten gehören – und zwar nicht nur der Caligari oder Metropolis, sondern die Gesamtheit des Materials.“

Helmut Herbst, Filmregisseur, ehemals Mitbegründer der Initiative Filmerbe in Gefahr, mit Daniel Kothenschulte Begründer von http://kinematheken.info
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 „Filmnegative und frühe Kopien auf Film sind wertvolle Kultur- und Technik-Zeugnisse. Sie zu vernichten kommt dem Abriss historischer Bauwerke gleich. Zudem: Wer weiß, ob wir in Zukunft noch digitale Dateien lesbar vorfinden können.“

Gert Koshofer, Fachautor Film- und Fotografiegeschichte, Ehrenmitglied der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Photographie e.V.
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 „To toss nitrate film onto the fire of history is a mistake. I think we’ve seen more than enough of that in Germany in the last century. Just citing history here. I’m not saying this to offend or upset our German colleagues in the archive world, but to remind them that what happened in the past should not be repeated. If there are no good safety film copies of these nitrate films, then before any strikes a match, funding should come from the German government to make these copies as soon as possible, and to delay the disposal of nitrate until it becomes unstable or dangerous. To empty the shelves of nitrate is pure madness.“

Ron Merk, Director of Film and Cultural Programs / The Metro Theatre Center Foundation
(AMIA-Mailinglist, 19.04.2016)

„I am surprised to learn of this policy by the German government, especially from a state that has a history of relatively generous support for the arts. (This is coming from the perspective of an American artist!)
Indeed, copying to acetate film, or digitizing images, does not solve any longtime preservation problem. All acetate must be restored every 20 years anyway as it suffers from fading and vinegar syndrome. And we really don’t know what fate awaits our digital archives, but on a personal level, we all are unfortunately too familiar with outdated and corrupted files, or worse, loss of our archives, in our relatively brief exposure to digital media. It is not hard to imagine a modern equivalent of the Library of Alexandria in the form of some magnetic tsunami.
Institutionally, archives would be better off investing in proper storage facilities and staff for our priceless nitrate masters. Nitrate can last indefinitely where temperature and relative humidity is kept low, and where proper ventilation does not permit fumes to accumulate in storage.“

Bill Morrison, Regisseur des Experimentalfilms Decasia, der das Phänomen der Nitrozersetzung künstlerisch verarbeitet
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„Es entspricht nicht den Tatsachen, dass eine ‚autokatalytische Zersetzung von Cellulosenitratfilmen‘ bei einem starken Zerfall zu ‚einer Selbstentzündung‘ führt. Fachleute weltweit werden einer solchen Diagnose widersprechen. […] Die FIAF (Fédération internationale des archives du film) – ihr gehören u.a. die Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, das Deutsche Filminstitut, das Filmmuseum München und das Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv als Vollmitglieder an – hat mit Zustimmung seiner Mitglieder einen ‚Code of Ethics‘ verabschiedet. Dieser wurde von jedem Archiv unterzeichnet:
‘(…) Film archives owe a duty of respect to the original materials in their care for as long as those materials remain viable. (…) Archives will not unnecessarily destroy material even when they have been preserved or protected by copying, (…)’
Die Voraussetzungen zur Erfüllung dieser Verpflichtungen sind vorhanden. Es gibt die Lagermöglichkeiten. Es gibt das fachlich ausgebildete Personal. Es gibt bei den Archivaren das Verständnis und den Willen, Filme fachgerecht aufzubewahren, zu sichern, verfügbar zu machen. – Es gibt also noch die Hoffnung auf den Erhalt der Originale des audiovisuellen Erbes.“

Eva Orbanz, Ex-FIAF-Präsidentin und ehemalige Leiterin des Filmarchivs der Deutschen Kinemathek

 „The nitrate copies of German productions have suffered a great deal of abuse over the years. When I started work with the film collection at the Library of Congress in 1958 the Library had just finished a decade plus of destroying nitrate film, primarily German productions. During and immediately after WWII the Library received huge quantities of German films that had been seized during the occupation — and some films that the U.S. government had purchased. … Library management was very paranoid about the danger of a nitrate fire so a program was initiated to get rid of as much nitrate as possible. This began with a project to identify and destroy duplicate copies of German films. The destruction was quite wholesale. Thousands of reels were destroyed. … The primary reason was the management’s paranoia about keeping nitrate. But it was also because Kodak and other film manufacturers assured us that nitrate film had a maximum life expectancy of fifty years and that once deterioration started, the film became more flammable and would ultimately self destruct. In the 1960’s very few in archives had experience with long-term cold storage of nitrate. We would learn that properly prepared and stored, nitrate lasts longer than 50 years and that even films kept in very marginal condition can last for years. The copy and burn policy was dropped in the late 1960’s when the American Film Institute began a national program to collect and preserve nitrate film.
I have related all this, because German film heritage deserves something better than copy and burn. It was a bad policy in the 1950’s and we know better today.“

Paul Spehr, ehemals Assistant Chief der Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division der Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
(AMIA-Mailinglist, 19.04.2016)