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East German film propaganda and West German censorship by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for East/West Cinematic Affairs

Research field:Dictatorship Research
Research focus: Culture and Media History
Period: 01.2016–12.2018 (Project completed)
Coordination: Dr. Andreas Kötzing


In the 1950s and 1960s state-conducted film censorship existed in the Federal Republic, a fact largely unknown today. Responsible for this censorship was a federal committee consisting of representatives from different ministries and individual federal agencies. Between 1954 and 1966 the so-called ‘Inter-Ministerial Committee on East/West Cinematic Affairs’ inspected over 3,000 films from the Eastern European countries that were to be publicly shown in the Federal Republic. The committee prohibited performances in more than 100 cases. Banned in particular were films containing Communist propaganda or taking up issues controversial in the Federal Republic, such as the re-integration of former Nazi criminals.

In his project Andreas Kötzing examined the work of the Committee and its censorship practices against the background of German-German relations. The project’s results were published in the form of an online database. The database allows users to search for films from the GDR that were censured by the committee. The project was made possible through co-operation with the DEFA Foundation. The database can be accessed at www.filmzensur-ostwest.de.