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National Socialism in Austria
The Austrian Film Museum holds a unique collection of "ephemeral" films (home movies, advertising or educational films) which document the rise of the NSDAP in Austria since 1932, Jewish everyday life before the expulsion and the Holocaust, the "annexation" of Austria in 1938 and the war years of 1941-42.
The images they show are less "smooth" and much more varied than those of the highly controlled newsreels which have come to dominate our visual memory of the National Socialist era in Austria. With their specific characteristics these "ephemeral" films hold the potential to not only complement but correct our notions about this part of history.
Most of these films are unique and in danger of decay; they are often based on highly inflammable nitrate cellulose or in "obsolete" formats such as 9.5mm. For reasons of conservation these films were not or only partly accessible for research and educational purposes.
Ephemeral Films: National Socialism in Austria is a new international project that aims at preserving, evaluating and making accessible about 50 of these films. Project partners are the Austrian Film Museum, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
For the films to be used in a variety of contexts, they will be preserved in analog and digital form according to the highest preservation standards. Long term preservation, on-screen presentation and digital dissemination are equally important in this framework. After their scholarly exploration and analysis the films will be accessible through a specially developed web-application that can be implemented in school education.
With its archival, academic and pedagogic objectives the project will contribute to a visual history of the National Socialist era in Austria. An agreement on the collaboration between the Film Museum and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was signed on September 10, 2011, in a ceremony at the residence of the US Ambassador in Austria.
The project Ephemeral Films: National Socialism in Austria is funded by the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria.