German Broadcasting Archive (DRA)

The German Broadcasting Archive (DRA) is a joint institution of the ARD and Deutschlandradio. It is a charitable foundation under civil law with locations in Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam-Babelsberg.

The comprehensive collections include analogue and digital sound and picture documents, documentary records, printed media and historical objects. The archive encompasses significant parts of the audio-visual tradition in Germany. It reflects the development of German broadcasting before 1945 as well as radio and television of the former GDR.

Within the framework of the foundations mandate, the stock footage of the DRA is made available for the public broadcaster. The stock footage is used for science and research, education and culture, and by individuals and commercial organizations.

Among others, the archival stock includes the following:

GDR Television in the DRA (1952-1991)

The archive includes all in-house productions, co-productions, and commissioned productions of the German Television Broadcasting (Deutscher Fernsehfunk/ DFF) respectively GDR Television (Fernsehen der DDR).  The stocks of the TV archive range from the first broadcast of the DFF on 21. December 1952 to the termination of the broadcasting company on 31. December 1991. With almost 40,000 hours of television material in over 100,000 broadcasts, the DRA is one of the largest media archives in Germany.

Among others, the stock includes:

  • Programmes from the news stock, for example the daily news show “Die Aktuelle Kamera”
  • Political magazines, such as “Prisma”, “Objektiv”, “Radar” and “Der Schwarze Kanal”
  • Extensive sports coverage
  • Fictional in-house productions, such as feature films. TV series and literary films, e.g. “Polizeiruf 110” and “Der Staatsanwalt hat das Wort”
  • Encounters with well-known actors of the GDR, e.g. “Schauspielereien” and Willi Schwabes “Rumpelkammer”
  • Entertainment and music shows, e.g. “Ein Kessel Buntes”, “Showkolade”, “Mit dem Herzen dabei” and “Da lacht der Bär”
  • Children’s- and youth programmes, e.g. “Jan und Tini” and “Rund”
  • Advice programmes, such as “Du und dein Garten“, “Du und dein Haustier” or “Verkehrsmagazin”

Audio recordings before 1945 and radio broadcasting of the GDR in the DRA stock (1945-1991)

The DRA, along with the National de l’Audiovisuel Institute in Paris and the National Library in London, is one of the largest phonetics in Europe. Since its founding in 1952, the DRA has been archiving, documenting and restoring historical recordings on behalf of the ARD.

One of the most crucial parts of the audio stock are the recordings of the German broadcasters respectively the Reich Broadcasting Corporation (Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft, RRG) from 1925-1945.

At the location in Frankfurt, the DRA also has significant collections of historical recordings. Among them are more than 100,000 shellacs and tapes with original recordings from the end of the 19th century to the present.

At the location in Potsdam-Babelsberg, the audio stock includes the recordings of the broadcasting and television music productions from the period 1945-1991. Around 350,000 music- and 100,000 spoken word records can be found here.

Furthermore, the stock of the serious music is very unique. Almost all significant music events during the four and a half decades of the GDR until 1991 are documented.

Important cultural and socio-political developments in the GDR are covered by historical spoken work and sound recordings. Examples are the uprise on 17. June 1953, the contruction of the wall in 1961, and the opening, consecration, and restoration of cultural-historical sites. The German reunification is reflected in recordings of party foundations and meetings of the People’s Parliament.

Also worth mentioning is the collection of radio plays with a total of 23,000 recordings. These include the oldest productions from 1946/47, e.g. Brecht’s „Der kaukasische Kreidekreis“ oder Hauptmann’s „Der Biberpelz“.

In addition, the DRA has a collection of over 36,000 individual sounds from areas such as traffic and work in the GDR, nature sounds, musical instruments and sports.