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Film Studio of the National People's Army (NVA)

In 1960, the Army Film Studio, which was later renamed the the Film Studio of the National People's Army (NVA), was founded. By 1991, some 1,500 productions had been created there, mainly educational and propaganda films, but also documentaries and film magazines. The films were mainly directed at soldiers, providing "socialist military education" and political motivation. They include instructional films for training on various weapons and weapon types, ships, vehicles and aircraft or military tactical topics; shots of NATO manoeuvres on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG); documentaries on military history such as the use of biological warfare agents in the First World War; the development of torpedo weapons, the Soviet rocket launcher Katjuscha or the Soviet tanks, as well as instructional films preparing for the use of nuclear weapons by the enemy.

Of particular historical interest are the educational films for border soldiers about the implementation of border controls, prevention of border crossings, securing the border with armoured personnel carriers or arrest of so-called "border violators". Some of them show previously unseen images of the inner-German border between the construction of the Wall and its fall.

A rather unexpected genre can even be found in this collection: the NVA Filmstudio also produced humorous-satirical films like "Zum weißen Kobold" about the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption in the army. These films also include recordings of the Erich Weinert Ensemble (an NVA group consisting of a male choir, ballet and orchestra) and the cabaret "Die Kneifzange" (“The Pincers”). The ensemble served as entertainment for the soldiers, but also toured foreign socialist countries. From 1961 "Die Kneifzange" was performed as a live cabaret for the border troops of the GDR.

After the collapse of the GDR, the NVA Filmstudio also produced footage of the demolition of the Berlin Wall or films in which soldiers expressed critical opinions about the NVA, such as "Indicator - D - " and "NVA – goodbye!”

Provenance
Bundesarchiv

Production period
1960-1991

Number of films
approx. 940

Running time
2-70 min

Material
35mm, Digital Beta, Betacam SP | coloured, b/w

Topics
Military, war, technology, tanks, warships, weapons, NATO, Cold War, Berlin Wall

Filming locations
Germany (East), Germany (West), Berlin

Browse collection NVA Filmstudio


Armeefilmschau (1964)Armeefilmschau | 1964