Part 3 - LBI and the Day of Digital Archives

Weekend at Scharmützelsee - 1935

This is an example of an archival collection that takes on an entirely new meaning in the context of information provided by the donors.  This footage of summer vacationers in Germany in the 1930s contains few clues about the identity of the subjects or their historical circumstances. In isolation, historians might discover in it clues about various topics - the medium of 8mm film and amateur motion picture photography, fashion, outdoor sports, leisure time, and social dancing, to name a few - but only the following information provided by the donor fully illuminates the circumstances under which it was made. 

The Korngold family, owners of the Richard Hecht and Company furniture businesses in Berlin, owned an estate which they used for their summer vacations: Landgut Waldfrieden on Scharmuetzelsee outside Berlin. When the Nazi administration began closing public beaches to Jews in 1933, the Jewish community board in Berlin put pressure on the Korngolds to open their estate to the Jewish public. At the same time, the Korngolds faced economic pressure due to anti-Jewish policies. In order to keep up a certain standard of living, the Korngolds moved from the mansion to the servants’ quarters and opened the estate to Jewish paying guests for the summers of 1935-1938. 

Members of the Korngold family shot this footage on 8mm reels in 1935, and descendents of the Korngolds donated the digitized footage to Leo Baeck Institute. Leo Baeck Institute created this 2.5 minute edit from over 16 minutes of footage, which is online here.