Berlin in the 1918/19 Revolution

Exhibits from the Ullstein collection in the Museum für Fotografie Berlin

Berlin in the 1918/19 Revolution

Photography, Film, Entertainment Culture

The revolution in winter and spring 1918/19 was decided in the streets of the imperial capital, Berlin. Berliners celebrated the abdication of the German Emperor with demonstrations in front of the Reichstag and the palace on November 9th, 1918, in the newspaper quarter in January 1919 rolls of printing paper were used by the Spartacists to erect barricades against approaching government troops, after fighting had ceased, a large funeral procession crossed Frankfurter Allee to the cemetery in Friedrichsfelde.

Press photographers were omnipresent with their big plate cameras, taking shots of orators in the crowd, soldiers behind machine-guns, vehicles carrying party posters in the National Assembly election campaign, and destroyed buildings and ravaged squares. At the same time, everyday life in the city went on. People went to the numerous cinemas with their expanding repertoire of films, enjoyed themselves at revues and cabarets, and danced the two-step and the foxtrot.

The exhibition in the Museum für Fotografie shows both a photographic visual history of the revolution in Berlin and a panorama of the entertainment culture of those months.

The brothers Otto and Georg Haeckel were the most important press photographers during the first days of the revolution. As experienced war reporters, they reacted quickly to cover the spontaneous rallies on Unter den Linden and in front of the palace. The photographers worked without assignment and offered their images to publishers like Mosse or Ullstein. There are few visual records of the fighting itself. Rather, photographers took advantage of breaks in the fighting to recreate scenes on the barricades or with soldiers with readied weapons.

We really appreciate the cooperation of the Museum für Fotografie and ullstein bild to show masterpieces of early press photography from the Ullstein collection. The catalogue with essays by Katrin Bomhoff, Ludger Derenthal, Evelin Förster, Karin Herbst-Meßlinger, Enno Kaufhold and Alan Lareau will be released 9th November 2018.

The Opening of the exhibition in the Museum für Fotografie will be: 8th of November 2018 at 7pm.

You may have a look at further information on the website of the Museum für Fotografie or see some of the image in our picture gallery at (all images © ullstein bild).


Dr. Katrin
Senior Manager Asset & Exhibition
+49 30 2591 73164