Archive, Collection, Museum: On the History of the Archiving of Voices at the Sound Archive of the Humboldt University


Britta Lange

Beginnings: On the History of the Archiving of Voices


The conditions necessary for the creation of repositories with sound material, voice collections, and sound archives, which made sounds available as acoustic events rather than written notation, came about through an innovation in the history of technology and media: acoustic sound recording. It began with a question about the technical possibilities of transmitting voices as voices over long distances researched over several years and successfully carried out in 1876 with the patent of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell and of conserving voices as voices (Macho 2006: 134). The invention of the phonograph in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison finally made it possible to store sound and voices; this was followed shortly afterwards by the invention of the gramophone by Emile Berliner in 1887. From the perspective of the history and theory of culture, the desire to preserve sounds and the realization of this desire can be seen in the context of various attempts in the late nineteenth century to preserve animal and human bodies (Sterne 2006: 292-301). Music, voices, languages, and noises in general could now become collectible objects. Caught on wax discs or cylinders, sound could be separated from the time and place of its recording to circulate through space and time and finally be played back in other places and later times. With the recording of sound and its transformation into sound objects, sound, which is of an essentially ephemeral nature, acquires the potential for multiple, theoretically endless, repetition and reactualization.

With this new possibility of preserving sounds, sound objects could now be collected for purposes of private and public memory. At the same time, in various academic disciplines, recordings of sounds, voices, and music were used as objects of research analogous to the material objects collected in the natural sciences, for instance. As summarized by Robert Lach, who in Vienna during the First World War was commissioned with the study of “the songs of Russian prisoners of war,” the recording apparatus put the comparative musicologist in the position

“to send back home in securely-packed boxes the results of his recordings and the spoils of his expeditions, just like every other explorer – the anthropologist, ethnographer, zoologist, and botanist, etc. – in a form that is purely objective and exact and entirely free of subjective influence or individual interpretation and which, like an anatomical specimen or a physical apparatus, can offer itself at any moment for scientific verification by the next best specialist, to be preserved for all time in the phonogram archives of present and future generations.” (Lach 1924: 21)[1]

The research objects produced by the technical procedure of recording voices suggested an analogy to the anatomical specimens used in the natural sciences as objects of study. In this way, the voice, not as a concrete part but nevertheless as a property of the body, which was preserved using purely “objective and exact” methods (Lach 1924), could also be made available for scientific examination. This examination could now be made independent of a detour via written transcription, since sound was recorded as sound, as a temporal and audible – rather than readable – phenomenon. Although listening and the study of listening did not become a scientific procedure simply due to the birth of sound recording, the phonograph radically increased the possibilities of scientifically analyzing what had been heard by means of audio recording (Ames 2003: 299). An institutional framework for these activities was provided by the Phonogram Archive in Vienna (Stangl 2000 inter alia), founded in 1899, and the Berlin Phonogram Archive, founded in 1900 at the instigation of Carl Stumpf and subordinated to the Psychological Institute of Berlin University. The creation of the Berlin Phonogram Archive is also considered a landmark in the establishment of comparative musicology in the German Reich (Simon 2000). In the following years, sound archives were also founded in other European cities, such as Saint Petersburg in the beginning of the twentieth century (Russian Academy of Sciences), Zurich in 1909 and Paris in 1911 (Archive de la Parole). Most of these were in contact with one another and exchanged knowledge, personnel, equipment, and copies of sound recordings.

As shown by the history of the early sound archives, these were founded on the basis of different scientific premises and were associated with different fields of knowledge. They were concerned with subjects as diverse as chemistry, biology and medicine, anatomy and physiology, psychology, acoustics, anthropology and ethnology, musicology, and linguistics as well as rhetoric and the philologies of the respective foreign languages.[2] In the following, I will briefly sketch out the research questions under which sound objects entered the sound archives in Vienna and Berlin. Subsequently, I will discuss the work of the Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission in the prison camps of the First World War as well as the continued existence of their sound recordings in changing institutional and publication- or research-oriented contexts.

The Phonogram Archives in Vienna (1899) and Berlin (1900): Comparative Musicology


On 27 April 1899 the physiologist Sigmund Exner (1846-1926) applied to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna to establish a “commission to found a phonographic archive” (“Commission zur Gründung eines phonographischen Archivs”).[3] Exner, who was himself a member of the Academy, suggested that the archive to be founded should collect examples of “all the languages of the world.” To this end, “the journeys and expeditions organized by the Imperial Academy, the cartelized academies, and other corporations should be taken advantage of by instructing one of the members in how to operate the phonograph and, particularly, by instructing him to systematically enter the written documentation corresponding to each cylinder” (Exner 1901: 2).

This idea was based on the still very recent possibilities of sound storage, but not on an existing stock of sound recordings. At the time of the charter application, there was still no content for the archive; the Commission based their arguments on the basis of the technological possibilities and the existence of the recording apparatus, which were sufficient to start an archive. The idea of the phonographic archive stemmed “from the potential to record” (Hoffmann 2004: 281). Accordingly, the phonogram archive was not created to house existing files as is the case for historical archives: when relicts or preserved files “are perceived as historical sources, a historical archive arises” (Schenk 2008: 26) but exclusively as a result of its own activity (Hoffmann 2004: 290).

With his application of 1899, Exner converted an interest in the scholarly study of music and sound in general, combined with the invention of sound recording, into the establishment of an institution: the creation of a study facility and the possibility of compiling an archive. The Commission for the founding of a phonographic archive at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna proposed the three main thematic areas of the collection to be: first, all languages of the world, especially European languages and dialects; second, music; and third, voice portraits of famous personalities. Regarding the second, Sigmund Exner added: “The collection of music performances by primitive peoples should prove especially fruitful for a comparative musicology, which would probably only be made possible in this way” (Exner 1901: 3). This consideration is based on the fact that the possibilities of technical storage allowed the once fleeting sounds to be converted into archivable objects and artifacts. The archival presence of many such recordings of different forms of music meant that a comparative musicology could be developed that could work with examples of music that could be played back repeatedly.

The Phonogram Archive of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna constructed its own “archive phonograph” (Archivphonograph), which recorded using a vertical cut like a phonograph, but making use of a wax disc rather than a cylinder. In the first two decades of the twentieth century the Vienna Phonogram Archive collected a wide range of different sounds: music, noises, animal sounds, human voices, and languages. In the German Reich, too, researchers of different disciplines took an interest in recording the music of non-European groups. Stumpf (1848-1936), a psychologist, acoustician, and the founder of the Berlin Phonogram Archive, the chemist Erich Moritz von Hornbostel (Klotz 1998), and the medical doctor Otto Abraham began working with the phonograph on the occasion of the guest performances of a Siamese and Japanese theater group in 1899 and 1900 in Berlin (Stumpf 1901; Abraham and Hornbostel 1903). At this time, Hornbostel and Abraham attempted to create an “objective” method for the notation of non-European music. Between 1903 and 1909 they published numerous studies on Turkish, Melanesian, Indonesian, and East African music (Abraham and Hornbostel 1909/1910 inter alia), among others. However, they did not simply describe the music, but used all the technical equipment and methods of calculation available at the time for their analyses as well, such as physical acoustic measurements of instruments and sound recordings as well as the subsequent calculation of musical conductor structures. The phonograph served here as a “surgical” instrument, with whose help sounds and melodies could be laid out and “dissected” (Ames 2003: 314). What became known as comparative musicology and the Berlin School began in Berlin (just as in Vienna) with the examination of the formal structure and the history and origins of music, based on elements of systematic musicology and music history, as well as empirical research, applying scientific methods to the sound objects themselves.

While the collection of examples of music and songs for the phonogram archives in Vienna and Berlin had a founding force, one that both preceded and followed musicological work, initially only the Vienna Phonogram Archive incorporated voice recordings and linguistic research into its program. In Berlin, Felix von Luschan (1854-1924), a professor of anthropology at Berlin University and the director of the Department of Anthropology at the Royal Ethnological Museum, reported that the graphophone was used for the first time for linguistic purposes by the Germans at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Here, members of the Anthropological Society recorded “a total of 450 colored people graphophonically” on cylinders and thereby captured the “finest variations in intonation and pronunciation.” Consequently, Luschan considered it necessary “from now on also to make recordings with the graphophone in ethnographic classes for travellers.”[4] If the first edition of his frequently revised Anleitung für ethnographische Beobachtungen und Sammlungen (Manual for ethnographic observations and collections) from 1899 only contained one subsection on musical instruments, the third edition from 1904 included a whole chapter exclusively on music, providing detailed directions on the operation of the phonograph when travelling (Ziegler 2009: 116). Nevertheless, these recordings did not immediately find their way into the Berlin Phonogram Archive. Stumpf and Hornbostel in Berlin began to work closely with Luschan, equipping many long-distance journeys to the ethnographic “field” with a phonograph in order to obtain recordings of music and songs. However, a collection of recordings of spoken languages was not created. While the role of the phonograph was considered by contemporaries as decisive for the development of comparative musicology, in the German Reich it initially had little impact on linguistics and dialectology (Scheer 2010: 287).

The phonogram archives in Vienna and Berlin were linked to the academic questions of the times, as is shown, for example, by Stumpf’s experiments on overtones, which have been preserved in a collection of 106 cylinders (Ziegler 2006: 83). Particularly natural scientists – such as Exner, Stumpf, and Hornbostel, who directed the Berlin Phonogram Archive from 1905 to 1933 – pointed out the possibility and the necessity of using the phonograph to examine “living” music rather than mere transcriptions. They practiced an inductive method on the basis of a comparative systematics (Scheer 2010: 285). Acoustic phenomena were examined using the resources of sound storage. Voice recordings, on the other hand, were to represent the spectrum of currently existing languages, dialects, and ways of speaking. In this documentation of the present, one also saw the potential for a historical perspective. As languages and dialects changed over time and occasionally even died out, audio samples of languages could act in the future as historical documents. To study the transformation of language over time, one would be able to consult an audio document, which could thereby also be understood as material for a future historical linguistics. However, only with a part of the voice recordings was any particular value attached to the content. Many documents consist of lists of words and served as vocabularies; in others, poems and other texts in verse were recited by heart or read out loud. The use of a standard text – the Lord’s Prayer in the Vienna Phonogram Archive – served, among other things, for the comparison of dialects, based on word choice and grammatical construction, for example. In the Vienna Phonogram Archive, in addition, the Austrian linguist Joseph Seemüller, beginning in 1908, developed in German dialectology a standard recording procedure whereby pre-established texts were to be read instead of being spoken freely, as the reading of pre-established texts guaranteed a strict conformity between text document and sound document (Lechleitner 2010).

The Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission (1915-1918): A Collection of Sound Recordings of Prisoners of War


Up to the founding of the Phonographic Commission there had been scattered activities in Berlin, but no institution concerned with the making of explicitly linguistically motivated sound recordings. However, the start of the First World War on July 28, 1914, led to the appointment on 27 October 1915 by the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art, and Education of a Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission, made up of leading scholars. Here, the Ministry was following a suggestion by the English teacher Wilhelm Doegen, as the latter describes retrospectively in his book Unter fremden Völkern, published in 1925. Following the outbreak of war, as Doegen writes, he had “the idea of using the involuntary stay of the prisoners of war held in Germany for sound recordings of speech,” and to this end he petitioned the War Ministry and finally the Ministry of Culture and Education (Doegen 1925: 9).[5] However, his plan predated the war, since, as he writes on 27 February 1914, he had already submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Education his “suggestions for the establishment of a Royal Prussian Phonetic Institute” (“Vorschläge für die Errichtung eines Kgl. Preußischen Phonetischen Instituts”) in which he had alluded “to the considerable importance of the study of living languages for the sciences and the practical teaching of languages for the goal of the constructive understanding of national cultural and intellectual life.” In this first proposal for a “phonographic sound archive,” Doegen anticipated as collecting domains: “1. Languages of all the peoples of the world; 2. All German dialects; 3. Music and song of all the peoples of the world; 4. Voices of great personalities; 5. Miscellaneous” (Doegen 1925: 9, note). The expression “phonographic sound archive” used by Doegen echoes the term “phonographic archive” that had been used since the turn of the century in Vienna and Berlin and had already appeared in the names of other institutions. With the Phonographic Commission appointed in 1915, no new archive or new department at the already existing Phonogram Archive in Berlin was initially created, but an association of researchers whose task was to assemble a collection of sound recordings, not yet allocated to an institutional home. The work of the Commission was financed with grants from the Imperial Disposition Fund and through a generous donation from a Berlin-based businessman, Mr. Palm (Doegen 1918).

According to his own account, Doegen wrote the grant application for the work in the prisoner-of-war camps with the support of, among others, Stumpf and Alois Brandl (1855-1940), a philologist and professor of English at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. Doegen had already produced gramophone recordings for Brandl’s research in England. According to Doegen, the task of the Phonographic Commission appointed in 1915 consisted in “systematically recording on sound discs the languages, the music, and the sounds of all the peoples residing in German prisoner-of-war camps according to methodological principles and in relation to accompanying texts” (Doegen 1925: 10), and hence to document the different languages and dialects as audio recordings, phonetically, and in writing. Stumpf took up the directorship of the Commission as cofounder of the Berlin Phonogram Archive. Besides the voluntary staff, the Commission was composed of eight members, each of whom presided over a different domain: Oriental languages under Prof. Eduard Sachau (University of Berlin and Prussian Academy of Sciences), English language under Prof. Brandl (University of Berlin and Prussian Academy of Sciences), comparative and Indo-Germanic linguistics under Prof. Wilhelm Schulze (University of Berlin and Prussian Academy of Sciences), Romance languages under Prof. Heinrich Morf (University of Berlin and Prussian Academy of Sciences), Indian and Mongolian languages under Prof. Heinrich Lüders (University of Berlin and Prussian Academy of Sciences), and African languages under Prof. Carl Meinhof (University of Hamburg). The domain of music documentation was presided over by Stumpf; Hornbostel, who had taken up the directorship of the Phonogram Archive in 1905, was only briefly involved in the work (Ziegler 2006: 24). Responsible, under Stumpf, for the sound recordings in the prisoner-of-war camps, beginning in March 1916, was the latter’s postdoctoral student Georg Schünemann. Doegen, a teacher who had distinguished himself with the use of recordings in the teaching of modern languages, but not holding a doctorate (Mehnert 1996: 34f.), was entrusted in the commission with organizational tasks and described himself as a “Kommissar.” During the First World War, research that was explicitly linguistic in nature was also supported by the Prussian Academy of Sciences (Lange 2013).

While the musicologists of the Phonographic Commission under Stumpf worked with an Edison phonograph, the Orientalists and linguists used a gramophone and signed a contract with the record company Odeon, who took responsibility for the production and subsequent matrixing of the records. The researchers selected the camps to visit based on the lists of the War Ministry and inquiries to the offices of individual commandants concerning the languages represented in the respective camp. The first recordings in a prisoner-of-war camp took place in Döberitz near Berlin on 29 December 1915.[6] Between the end of 1915 and the end of 1918, the employees of the Commission visited a total of 31 German prisoner-of-war camps (Mahrenholz 2012: 18), where they carried out both linguistic and musicological research. This resulted in a total of 1,651 gramophone records with voice, music, and instrumental recordings, as well as 1,022 wax cylinders with music recordings (Mehnert 1996; Bayer and Mahrenholz 2000; Ziegler 2006: 24f.).

This extensive collection – which was still without an institutional home – was initially a conservation project whose aim was to document music and language in in common usage at the moment when it was recorded. With this aim, just like established sound archives, it adhered to the objective of salvage ethnography: to document conditions threatened with extinction or radical change. This undertaking was also revealed by the almost encyclopedic ambition to record as many different songs, languages, and dialects as possible. Doegen associated this encyclopedic gesture with the potential of a museum, as is shown by his later descriptions of the collection as such. In unpublished biographical notes, he writes that around 1910 he began to fight tirelessly for the “creation of a sound library linked with a voice museum of social history in Berlin” (Schaffung einer Lautbibliothek, verbunden mit einem Stimmen-Museum der Zeitgeschichte in Berlin”). Subsequently, the outbreak of the First World War and the arrival in the German Reich of convoys of prisoners led to the idea for the collection: “At the time I was plagued day and night by the idea of creating a museum of the voices of peoples [Völkerstimmen-Museum]. My greatest desire – to capture on records the voices, languages, and music of all peoples of the world – seemed to come close to the fulfillment of my dream.”[7]

For linguists, the sound recordings offered the possibility of capturing the sounds of spoken language. Their research question was: What do spoken idioms sound like? The sound recordings should, on the one hand, provide representative examples of acoustic speech and, on the other, serve phonetic research. As the recordings were understood above all as supplementary information to the texts, the linguists – in line with a procedure developed by Seemüller in Vienna – stipulated a standard recording procedure: the prisoners of war should not speak spontaneously into the gramophone, but read out or recite by heart a text that had been prepared with the collaboration of the researchers in advance. If the prisoner was unable to read, he was prompted by a linguist, who whispered the text in small segments, which the speaker subsequently repeated out loud. As a comparison text, the Anglicists and Romance philologists of the Phonographic Commission used the Biblical parable of the prodigal son (Albrecht 2014). In a few language groups, such as the Tatars, however, the supervising researchers explicitly requested texts about customs and practices, or they let numbers, lists of words, fairy tales, sagas, prayers, anecdotes, adages, riddles, narratives, and song lyrics be recited. Occasionally, the translations accompanying the recordings contain autobiographical texts and personal narratives that the prisoners probably wrote in view of their situation in the camp. Today, the authorship of the texts, documentation of which was not organized according to established procedures, can hardly be traced. Even in the case of the autobiographical texts, it is doubtful that the prisoners wrote or dictated these without being influenced by the situation in the camp and under the researchers. Nevertheless, it was not the content of these texts as such that interested the linguists; their aim was rather to attain examples of spoken language. However, the fact that these, most likely, self-authored texts were permitted means that one can address to them questions related not only to linguistics and the history of language, but also to the history and theory of culture: What discourses, what narratives on the war are found in the sound recordings, while, simultaneously, the war and the camp formed the conditions of what was able to be said? I will come back to this at the end of this article.


The Sound Department of the Prussian State Library (1920-1934): Sound Collection, Sound Archive, Sound Research


When in November 1918 the First World War and, shortly afterwards in December 1918, the recording activity in the camps ended, the question arose of what should be done with the collection of wax cylinders and gramophone records. Following Doegen’s application to the Ministry of Culture and Education, the Phonographic Commission aimed to document the languages, dialects, songs, and music of the prisoners of war held in the German Reich. The objective was a collection that could potentially transport objects “from different spatial and temporal levels” to a common location, where they could be presented together (te Heesen and Spary 2001: 15). The objects are thus removed from their original circulation, for instance from the flow of goods or from their everyday use, and charged with a new meaning (Benjamin 1927-1940: 269-280; Pomian 1988). The collection is provided with an order and a reference system.

In comparison, an archive is characterized by an ongoing process of compiling. From the perspective of continuous administrative procedures, a historical archive arises initially as an exception: the act of isolating a document from the general ongoing procedure. The archive historian Dietmar Schenk has defined a historical archive as “a site of the competent preservation of obsolete deeds, acts, and other documents, which are primarily of interest as historical sources” (Schenk 2008: 9). Criteria of the archive are accordingly “textuality (and related to this the materiality of the information), organization, and order, as well as the suspension of an original function” (Schenk 2008: 27). In the place of the original function appears a secondary function: “The historical attitude first brings about the archive understood as a historical archive” (Schenk 2008: 27).

The “historical attitude” recalls the agenda of the interrogating historian described by Paul Ricoeur. According to Ricoeur, a collection of documents becomes an archive when one poses to it a historical question, a research question: “Trace, document, and question thus form the tripod base of historical knowledge. [...] Having become a document in this way, everything can be interrogated by a historian with the idea of finding there some information about the past” (Ricoeur 2004: 177f.). This was achieved with the founding of the Phonogram Archive in Vienna; here, first of all, an apparatus was built for the recording of sound. The quasi-surgical investigation of sounds in the laboratory, made possible by the wax cylinders, was practiced by Stumpf and Hornbostel in Berlin in their research on pitch, overtones, speed, frequency, and other phenomena, carried out through measuring, calibrating, and “dissecting” the recordings. The phonograph acted not only as a medium for the creation of new collections, which went beyond the transcription of songs into notation or the text corpuses, but the sounds themselves – their formation, their oscillations, their physically measurable characteristics, their being-heard – also became an object of research. This is demonstrated by Stumpf’s experimental cylinders, which were preceded by a research question. Accordingly, the archival material was not only studied, but also compiled. The archive’s own production of the archival material already manifests a first difference to historical archives of textual material. A second difference is their materiality. Sound recordings consist of recorded sounds rather than written letters. In view of this fact, Ricoeur states that oral testimonies become documents when they are recorded on audiotape. In this way they are no longer memory in the proper sense of the word, but archived (Ricoeur 2004: 178). Additionally, early sound recordings are not inscribed on paper, but are preserved on cumbersome objects, wax cylinders or discs, which can only be read by technical apparatuses: the phonograph or the gramophone. Here, the reading direction, if it is not interrupted, is hierarchically prescribed. Sound recordings are time-based media linked to the movement of a machine and the running-through of its content. A third difference to archives of textual material consists in the fact that sound recordings “speak” themselves; they preserve sounds as sounds, language as spoken or sung language and, in this way, reproduce a dimension of corporeality – voice, performance – that textual sources lack. Early sound recordings could not be edited or reworked. Hence, all technical errors, unplanned noises, verbal errors, or overlong pauses were recorded as well. Furthermore, the reproduced voices in the sound recordings evoke – in Central European cultural milieus – the presence of the absent speaker, which gives them an apparent quality of immediacy.

While the content of sound recordings of human voices is mostly also text and, as with archives of textual material thus also a production of meaning that is tied to authorship as well as to a speaker, they also contain an additional layer of information: the physical quality of the voice as a distinctive corporeal characteristic in its tonality. The dimension of sound, which is missing in archives of textual material, is specific to these recording, rendering the instruments of textual analysis insufficient for their examination. Resulting from these conditions for dealing with sound sources today arises a whole series of research questions: How can extra-textual sounds be understood, interpreted, discussed, and turned into meaning? How can the performance of the recited texts be represented, examined, and put into writing? I will return to this, too, at the end of the paper.

In 1919 and 1920, when a decision was being made about a future home for the holdings of the Phonographic Commission, the term most frequently used in connection with the gramophone records was “sound collection.” This term has a prominent place in Doegen’s Denkschrift über die Errichtung einer LAUTABTEILUNG in der Preuss. Staatsbibliothek (Memorandum on the establishment of a sound department in the Prussian State Library), which he wrote in November 1918. Already on the first page, Doegen mentions once again his “suggestions for the establishment of a royal Prussian experimental phonetic institute” from February 1914, in which he set out his proposal for a “sound archive” (“Lautarchiv”) comprising four departments (Doegen 1918: 1). Subsequently, however, the expression “sound collection” dominates, when Doegen – for instance in the chapter “Wert und Bedeutung der bestehenden Lautsammlung” (Value and importance of the existing sound collection) – explains that through sound recordings, largely unexplored languages can “be investigated and assessed in a meticulous way with regard to their phonetics” (Doegen 1918: 11). In the same “Denkschrift” Doegen also lays out a project for a “sound library” (“Lautbücherei”). This would be

“a collection of speech and music records arranged according to scientific principles: a talking library. It aims to offer students and anyone interested the possibility of researching, studying, and learning the desired languages. It can be compared to a common library in which, instead of the requested books, the desired records with the accompanying texts are issued.” (Doegen 1918: 39)


The difference to a conventional library was formulated shortly afterwards by Hans Pollak: “The most remarkable libraries are sound archives in which not quantities of dead letters in printed or written form lie piled up, but living sounds captured on the discs or cylinders of the gramophone, from which they can be called forth again at any time” (Pollak 1924/25: 231). The “liveliness” of the sounds was thus played off against the dead letters on paper.

The description “sound collection” (“Lautsammlung”) in 1918 and 1919 is an abbreviation of “sound-record collection” (“Lautplattensammlung”), of which in January 1919 Doegen described himself as the administrator.[8] The expression “sound collection” may also be due to the fact that the Prussian State Library had been proposed as a place to house the collection, as well as to competition with the already almost two-decades-old Phonogram Archive. In a letter to the Ministry of Culture and Education from 26 July 1919, Stumpf argued the case for preserving the independence of the Phonogram Archive under its current director Hornbostel. As Stumpf writes, the Archive contains approximately “7,000 music recordings from all parts of the world,” has already produced approximately “40 scholarly papers,” cofounded “comparative musicology,” and thus needs “the context of the cultural phenomena of the whole world” as a horizon. Due to its musicological orientation, this collection can be clearly distinguished from the “‘sound collection’ of the State Library, for which ample funds were provided by the state budget for 1920,” since the latter “was chiefly concerned with the teaching and research of languages.” According to Stumpf, it is inconceivable to incorporate the Phonogram Archive “into this sound collection” as it is “dependent on the acoustic resources of the Psychological Institute.”[9] Stumpf thereby emphasized the orientation of the Phonogram Archive, on the one hand, to musicological and, on the other, to acoustic and psychological research, making it similar in this respect to the Vienna Phonogram Archive. While he also describes the holdings of the Archive as a “collection,” the term “sound collection” emphasizes the phonetic orientation of the gramophone recordings. In August 1919 the general director of the State Library rejected the suggestion of the Ministry of Culture and Education to expand the Phonogram Archive independently alongside the newly created “sound collection” (Lautsammlung) of the State Library.[10] Meanwhile, Doegen worked resolutely towards the institutionalization of the gramophone records at the State Library, and in September 1919 he requested from the Ministry of Culture and Education “that as of now records from the sound collection may be sold to the universities and academies.”[11]

After the Berlin Phonogram Archive rejected being integrated into the “sound collection” of the State Library, it finally received the cylinders of the Phonographic Commission. The gramophone records from the war period, however, entered into the initial holdings of the Sound Department of the State Library. Only a few months after its founding, the responsible person, the Referent für Bibliothekswesen, Eduard Prym spoke on 8 December 1920 into two gramophone records with precisely this story of its origins, resulting in a self-referential object: a part of the collection that also contains a report on the collection. Here, the sound recordings of the Phonographic Commission are described as a “voice collection” (“Stimmensammlung”) as well as “a collection of voices of peoples” (“Völkerstimmensammlung”).[12]

Thus, on 5 June 1920, the “sound collection” found a home in the Sound Department (Lautabteilung), which, however, did not form an independent institution, but was affiliated to the State Library, which in turn was answerable to the Ministry of Science, Art, and Education. Although the Sound Department did not include the term archive in its name, it nevertheless, at least rhetorically, was attributed the potential of developing into an archive. Prym ended his speech in front of the gramophone by expressing the hope that the Department might be expanded to form “a large voice archive and voice museum” (“Stimmenarchiv und Stimmenmuseum”).[13] In Prym’s speech, however, we do not learn what distinguishes a “voice collection,” a “voice archive,” and a “voice museum” – which suggests that the terms in this historical situation were not properly distinct. While “collection” evokes the activity of collecting as well as the concrete work of recording, and the archive is linked to an ongoing process of compiling – or, from a historical perspective, with a research question – the museum is oriented above all to public perception (Bennett 1995 inter alia). Accordingly, Anke te Heesen has pointed out that, in the framework of the university, the concepts of collection, museum, and exhibition should be carefully differentiated. While the task of university collections – and the holdings of the Sound Department would become such a collection in 1934 – is to preserve certain objects for teaching and research, university museums are long-term public institutions split between the roles of storage and presentation, distinguished by the fact that “their repositories hold collections that at the same time are examined by scholars and publically exhibited,” and thus create a mutual relationship between conservation and research, on the one hand, and exhibition, on the other (te Heesen 2014: 55f.).

At the beginning of the 1930s, Doegen, with his idea of a scholarly as well as public “museum of the voices of peoples,” was accused of lacking “a scholarly attitude with regard to the tasks of the sound archive. For him it is rather a kind of museum,” as the professor of German philology Arthur Hübner wrote in a statement requested by the Ministry in which he also called for a “systematic increase in the recordings of German dialects.”[14] After Doegen was suspended from office for budgetary violations occuring between July 1930 and October 1931, the financial management of the Sound Department was assumed on the first of October 1931 by Berlin University (Mehnert 1996: 37; Stoecker 2008: 132f.); in May 1933, in accordance with the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), Doegen was dismissed.[15]

The Institute of Sound Research of the Friedrich Wilhelm University (1934-1946): Language Research


With the founding of the Sound Department at the State Library, not only were the recordings of the Phonographic Commission matrixed, in part subject to scholarly study, and published as shellac records with the accompanying transcriptions in a brochure in the publication series “Lautbibliothek” (Sound library) begun in 1926, which realized Doegen’s idea of a sound library for the learning of foreign languages. In the recording of speech samples of German dialects, a new research field in cooperation with the project Deutscher Sprachatlas in Marburg (Ferdinand Wrede) was also established (Bott, Lange and Meyer 2016). The research question that the members of the Phonographic Commission had already applied to foreign languages during the war was now applied to German in its variants: What do spoken German dialects sound like? Instead of the parable of the prodigal son, the reference text for sound recordings was now compiled from the sentences developed by Georg Wenker (from 1877 on at the Bibliothekar in Marburg and from 1888 leader of the research project “Deutscher Sprachatlas” at the University of Marburg) in the 1860s and 1870s for the comparison of dialects in written form.

With the systematic compiling of a collection of examples of spoken variants of German, the Sound Department followed the model of the Vienna Phonogram Archive and created a line of research that did not actively follow the Berlin Phonogram Archive’s research profile. Beginning at the end of the 1920s, research activities and experiments that were directed more strongly to phonetic phenomena also took place in the Sound Department – giving rise to questions that were also relevant to university research. Thus Doegen and Brandl carried out investigations with oscillographs, which graphically recorded the oscillations of sounds, such as the pronunciation of the “a” in the English word “man” (Brandl 1928). In 1932 the acoustic recording method was replaced by the “electrical microphone procedure.”[16] After Doegen’s final dismissal, the Africanist and phonetician Diedrich Westermann (1875-1956) provisionally took up the directorship of the Sound Department. In December 1933 he suggested to the university curator and the Ministry of Culture and Education the expansion of the Sound Department to form an “institute of sound research” (“Institut für Lautforschung”). He argued that the quality of the technical recording equipment was so exceptional that it was not only suitable for phonetic research – that is, “investigations of sound, accent, intonation, and speech act” – but also “actual sound studies,” which would “considerably increase its scientific utility.”[17] The main scholarly tasks of the phonetic institute would consist in the continuation of speech recordings and the teaching of and research on phonetics.[18] Westermann’s proposal, in which technology made a major contribution to the legitimization of the scholarly orientation and, thus, ties to the university, was accepted. By letter from the Minister of Culture and Education, dated 14 February 1934, the Sound Department of the Prussian State Library was officially renamed the Institute of Sound Research of the University of Berlin.[19] In this way the Sound Department was taken over by figures who, in comparison to Doegen, placed less emphasis on the popular character of the collection and worked rigorously to establish the scholarly role of the institute, successfully creating a full-fledged and independent academic institute at the university from the previously subordinate Sound Department. From this time on the emphasis lay less on public visibility and popular use; rather, the focus was clearly that of an academic institute geared toward research.

That the term “archive” was not adopted in the name of the Institute may be due again to the need to distinguish it from the Phonogram Archive, which in 1922 was transferred to the School of Music and finally in 1933 to the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, where it is still housed today, and along with this should move to the Humboldt Forum in the Schloss actually under construction in the city center of Berlin in 2019. At the same time, it would also have seemed advantageous in the university context to use the word “research,” as this emphasized the institute’s scholarly function, which overlapped with other functions of the archive, such as those of collection and library.

Beginning in 1935, the newly created Institute of Sound Research was divided up into a linguistics department, a phonetics laboratory, and a music department. While the publication project for the series “Lautbibliothek” was continued, new recordings were oriented above all toward speech samples of German dialects and folk songs of expatriate Germans. As before, sound recordings of foreign languages were made, for instance, with the foreign lecturers at the university’s Oriental department and, occasionally, of voices of famous personalities. Between 1939 and 1942 sound recordings were again made in prisoner-of-war camps (of Polish, Russian, and Serbian soldiers, as well as African soldiers of the French army) as well as in resettlement camps of so-called Volksdeutsche. As before, under Westermann’s direction the institute received in 1947, from this time forth in the state territory of the German Democratic Republic, the designation Institute of Comparative Phonetics. The Institute of Phonetics and Communication Science that was formed from this in 1962 existed independently until 1969, when it was incorporated as the dependent division Phonetics/Linguistics in the section Rehabilitation Pedagogy and Communication Science. As the phonetician Dieter Mehnert writes, for whom credit is due as the first in the post-war period to deal in detail with the holdings and their history and to have thus saved this record for posterity, there was “little interest in the sound archive that was also incorporated into this newly formed section” (Mehnert 1996: 37). The “record collection,” Mehnert continues, was relocated as a result of further reorganization to different locations at the Humboldt University until the mid-1980s, when it was housed at the Institute of Musicology (Mehnert 1996: 37f.). In 1997 it was incorporated into a project undertaking the development of the university collections. Between 1999 and 2006, the holdings of the Berlin Sound Archive, comprising approximately 7,600 shellac records, was digitalized (Mahrenholz 2003) and made accessible through the catalogue of the university collections. During this processes, the magnetic tapes from the 1960s were neither digitalized nor studied, a research gap within the history of the institution and possibly also for the history of phonetics. This can be explained primarily due to the closing down of the Institute of Phonetics, which was the last disciplinary home of the “record collection” (“Plattensammlung”) – a term used interchangeably with “sound archive” (“Lautarchiv”) – which was already unavailable for current research questions.

To sum up, it can be said regarding the institutional history of today’s Sound Archive of the Humboldt University and its name: From Doegen’s initial ideas regarding a “phonographic archive” and an “experimental phonetic institute” (1914) – a vision of a “museum of voices of peoples,” resulting in a concrete collection of records and wax cylinders from the camps of the First World War (1915-1918) as well as the voices of famous personalities (beginning in 1917) – there developed, with their institutionalization in 1919 and 1920, the terms “sound collection,” “record archive” or “sound archive,” “sound library,” and “voice museum,” terms that were not clearly distinguished from one another. None of these terms appeared in the name of the Sound Department established in 1920 at the Prussian State Library (1920-1934). The expression “sound archive” continued to operate as a description of the collection during its time as the Institute of Sound Research at the Friedrich Wilhelm University (1934-1946), as well as in the post-war period at the Institute of Phonetics, as a synonym for a historical stock of records. Only when the holdings were “rediscovered” in the 1990s, under Mehnert, were they officially incorporated (in 1997) as the Sound Archive into the collection project of the Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Technique of the Humboldt University.


The Sound Archive of the Humboldt University (1997 to the Present): History, Biography, History of Science, Cultural Science


Today the Sound Archive is part of the Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Technique. Particularly with the digitalization of the sound recordings, new research questions addressed to them have emerged. The fact that the term archive has finally become the official name of the, henceforth, purely historical collection is due partly to the other historical sound archives established under this name – such as the phonogram archives in Vienna and Berlin. Because of this, for many decades the archiving and/or production has been halted. Nevertheless, an ongoing process is still linked to the collection, which is concerned with the historical compiling as an object of past and present research. A further reason for the Sound Archive to be designated as an archive – this is the thesis of my paper – is in order to draw attention to current research focusing on these historical holdings.

The renewed examination of the archived recordings, beginning with the digitalization of the records of the Sound Archive, has so far focused mainly on the largest collection: the sound recordings of prisoners of war (1915-1918). At the time of the Sound Department only a small section of these was published with anonymous biographical information regarding the speakers for pedagogical purposes as language-learning records: the “Katalog der Lautbibliothek” from 1932 lists a total of 65 records with signatures of the Phonographic Commission.[20] Their “rediscovery” as historically significant and productive source material took place, however, less for phonetic research than for questions addressed from a historical perspective or from the perspective of cultural science, as well as for film, exhibition, and art projects, which in part trace the biographies of the speakers. A milestone in this respect is the film The Halfmoon Files: A Ghost Story ... by Philip Scheffner (Scheffner 2007). If in the past the sound recordings of prisoners of war were conserved as examples of spoken languages and used for teaching purposes, the interest over the last few years has reoriented toward the subjects behind the recordings, the oral testimony, the recordings’ content, their media quality, as well as to the asymmetrical power relations that determined the recordings (Vanagt 2010 inter alia; Vanagt). A further impulse for the renewed interest in the recordings has been the commemorative activities in 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and partly motivated by the euphoria of allowing the prisoners of war “to speak” (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Einstürzende Neubauten).

In Philip Scheffner’s and my research beginning in 2006, into the Sound Archive of the audio recordings of prisoners of war, we discovered that, rather than standard texts, a number of internees spoke or sang self-written sentences or songs into the gramophone horn. These refer to the prisoner’s homeland, their recruitment, their participation in the war, or their current situation in the camp. Among these personal stories, one can also find examples in which the speakers talk about their capture. So far it has not been possible to establish whether the researchers directly prompted the speakers to describe their capture or whether such descriptions, as with the other texts, were simply accepted in order to obtain the desired written or spoken examples of a language or dialect.

A few prisoners describe their final experiences in civilian life – with the outbreak of the First World War, all foreigners found on German soil were committed to civilian prison camps – or the last incidents of the war that they had experienced and which had led to their exclusion from the active and eventful situation of life at the front. Their capture forms the threshold into the passive existence in the camps: the internment, the idleness and waiting, and the isolation. As Iris Rachamimov has convincingly shown, in the prison camps of the First World War – both civilian and prisoner-of-war camps in equal measure – the prisoners became detached from a normal sense of time (Rachamimov 2014). This limbo in the transitional zone of the camps is reflected in a few of the descriptions of capture. Thus, in a sound recording that has not survived, the Armenian Levon Altunov declaimed: “O how unfortunate a fate is mine that sits in prison. Just like the fair nightingale, I suffer in my cage.”[21] In a Cheremis recording, Daniel Jegerow complains in his “personal history”: “The Germans took us prisoner. Comrades, you all know how we live. We live, we are sad. To live is a torment, and also far from home. Four years we live under a foreign power.”[22] The camp in turn imposed the conditions under which the sound recordings could be carried out – to be collected and stored.

Figures 1, 2, 3: Sound recording of John Eggers, 15th March 1918; Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität, PK 1236, documentation.

Descriptions of capture are distinguished not only in terms of content, their individual course of events, but also by whether the speakers were civilian prisoners or prisoners of war. Although civilian prisoners were interned as enemy aliens, as a rule their living conditions were significantly better than those of the prisoners of war. The civilian prison camp in Ruhleben, which was situated just west of Berlin and, therefore, within easy reach for the Phonographic Commission, held roughly 5,500 English and French civilian prisoners during the war (Jahr 2014). Here, a large series of recordings was made by Anglicists and Romance philologists of the Phonographic Commission. On 15 March 1918, for example, under the supervision of Doegen, a sound recording with the register number PK 1236 was made. John Eggers, a fisherman from Hull, initially recited his personal history and then reported on his capture.


“[...] About (at) eleven o’clock at night – we had only come out that morning – we were getting ready to shove the gear down; when the German war ships came along side on us and asked if we were Englishmen. And we said: ‘Yes, what about it?’ He said he was a German and was going to take us off board and sink our ship. Ay, and he was as good as his word. We jumped off (over) our ship and over to his ship and then he brought us to Cuxhaven. Nobody was lost, nor injured. We had a fine old time at Cuxhaven, plenty to eat and drink and good clean clothes. We lived there about a month, then we went to Hambourg [sic]. We were nine weeks in Hamburg, when we came to Ruhleben and we have been here ever since.”[23]

AudioObject 1: Sound recording of John Eggers, 15th March 1918; Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität, PK 1236, extract.

Musical Commentary on an extended version of AudioObject 1 by Lucas Niggli, Take 48 (mit zwei Riesenschwingbesen auf Floor tom und Rim. Nachphrasiert), Uster/CH: Dec. 21, 2016.

Photo by Lucas Niggli of the recording situation.

After the initial “fine old time” in Cuxhaven, the arrival in Ruhleben, probably in October 1914, marked the end not only of John Eggers’s journey, which began with the outbreak of war, but also the sound recording. A short crackling sound is followed by the whistle tone that closes all recordings of the Phonographic Commission: the standard A (436 Hertz at the time) that served to calibrate the recordings for when they were played back at a later date. Eggers’s narrative, in which one finds no elements of direct violence, reveals further elements: during the recording the presumably self-authored text was prompted with a series of whispered half sentences by a researcher just out of range of the horn.[24] These were subsequently repeated out loud by the speaker, which suggests that Eggers had not mastered reading or perhaps writing as well. Captured by the Germans, he now gave German Anglicists a speech sample. His personal story was probably initially dictated to the Anglicists and then, based on the read prompts, recited out loud. The scholarly aim of the recording, however, was simply to record an example of the spoken Yorkshire dialect.

Figures 4, 5: Sound recording of Jean Beauseigneur, 14th January 1918, Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität, PK 1132, documentation.


The text of Jean Beauseigneur from Chatenois, on the other hand, describes his “last day” in active battle at the Western Front. He describes military details and social situations in the war, which conclude with his capture. He was interned in the prison camp in Parchim, where he spoke into the gramophone horn on 14 January 1918.

“My last day before being captured went as follows. I was with my division in a trench on the front line not far from the Prussians. When we reached the sergeant we were given instructions and began digging a deeper trench. This was going very well. We weren’t particularly bothered [by] the conditions of not showing ourselves as we were on a plateau. So the day went well. As it got dark the cooks brought the soup and at the same time the orders for the sergeant. He went to find the commander but by then I had already gone to bed. At some point he was back again with the order to move on. Without saying a word we took our things – and, onward! It was already night. The march was difficult because we didn’t know the way. As a result we got lost. We took a break. Suddenly a rain of bullets made us fall to the ground, whistled past from all sides. Everyone was angry because we thought it was the French. We were just showing ourselves when they sent up flares. It was then that we heard German being spoken.”[25]

AudioObject 2: Sound recording of Jean Beauseigneur, 14th January 1918, Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität, PK 1132, extract.


Here, an error resulted in capture. Beauseigneur and his convoy got lost while changing location at the Front, thereby falling into the hands of the Germans. They became aware of their error through an acoustic event: the sound of German being spoken. Thus the presence of the enemy was announced by language, but too late to evade capture. That Beauseigneur in his language, French, reports on hearing a foreign language, German, creates a self-referential situation formed by the context of the voice recording: the recorded foreign speech about the hearing of foreign speech occurs by means of the recording apparatus. However, while Beauseigneur’s speech is anticipated as an object of knowledge, the description of German speech goes unnoticed. Of importance for the Romance philologists was only that the recording took place in French.

In Beauseigneur’s description of his capture, the war appears in the form of a narration that is familiar to us from other sources on the First World War, but which is simultaneously also singular and individual. Its special quality lies furthermore in the fact that it – like all other recordings of prisoners of war – was not recorded as a historical source text or even as an eye-witness account. Its speaker is one of, as are the other speakers, those common soldiers who, during the First World War, were not asked about their experiences by historians, chroniclers, or the press. Their descriptions have been preserved in a collection that was intended as a resource for linguistic or phonetic research, or as a library of learning aids for foreign languages. Today the collection can be read and listened to with an ear for different questions: Which individuals stood in front of the gramophone, where did they come from, and what did they experience in the war? How do the prisoners in the camp narrate their war experience in front of the gramophone? What standard narrations can be found among the soldiers, possibly about the war? Is the prescribed war euphoria reflected in the recordings? For whom or what do the prisoners speak – apart from for the researchers who, with the support of the camp command, summoned them to do so? For money or better rations? For themselves, for their fellow prisoners? Or do they speak for the gramophone, and therefore for the archive that preserves their stories and at some point releases them again, when these are requested? If these are legitimate questions, then today the collection of sound recordings of prisoners of war can indeed be considered as a research archive, an archive of the narratives of prisoners of the First World War located in Germany.





With the example of one of the earliest holdings, the sound recordings of the prisoners of war, I have developed the thesis that these can be understood – from the perspectives of science history and the history of knowledge, but above all from those of historiography and cultural science – as a research archive. They can operate as source material, on the one hand, for the history of science and, on the other, for analyses of biographies, ways of speaking, and narratives concerning the First World War. In the recapitulation of the genesis and the history of the Sound Archive, it has been shown that in this particular type of archive – which can be distinguished in a number of ways from historical archives of visual and textual material – then, as now, the functions of collection, archive, library, and museum overlap. This is due in part to the tasks attributed to the collection of the Phonographic Commission as well as the nature of the collections assembled in the 1920s and 1930s. However, the range of the functions is due to the fact that in 1934 the Sound Archive became a university collection and exhibits the specific features of university collections highlighted by Jochen Hennig: namely, that these are not exclusively made up of semiophores, that is, of objects that have been removed from their original context of use, as defined by Krzysztof Pomian. Rather, they link the special, i.e., that which has been taken out of circulation, with use, insofar as the objects in a university collection are used in research and teaching (Hennig 2015: 119). Already in the publication series “Lautbibliothek” (commencing in 1926) and in the making available of the Sound Department’s recordings for scholarly use in the 1920s, a genuine connection was shown between collection objects and use objects in the framework of a library, which was maintained when the collection became part of the university institute. This tradition gives reason to hope that with the planned relocation of the Sound Archive to the Humboldt Forum, not only a storage facility for the collection will be created, from which exhibitions can be assembled – which, according to Jochen Hennig, is a specific characteristic of university collections (Hennig 2015: 12 – but that it is also preserved as a place of research, in which the objects of the collection can be used, as before, for purposes of research and teaching. It remains to be discussed as to how, in particular, the medium of sound can be exhibited. Research questions addressed to the archive can continue the original, once-valid questions, addressed from the perspective of musicology and phonetics, but in a culturally-relevant form; in the meantime, however, the archive can also be studied from the perspective of a history of science, and the sound recordings, understood as historical sources, can give rise to historical questions, questions about the import of the sound recordings for individual and collective memory, questions that can be addressed from cultural history and theory perspectives: concerning narratives, the dimension of performance, or the status of the political subject. That, in this way, the historical holdings may play an important role not only in current debates on history, but also on other present and future issues, gives reason to hope that a new significance can be found for the special entity that this collection, archive, library, museum, research space, and laboratory is.


Translation from German: Benjamin Carter.

Archival Sources


Archiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (AHUB)

Institut für Lautforschung (IFL)

-                IFL, Ordner 12, protocol of the Lautkommission, 20.2.1916, , signed by Carl Stumpf

-                IFL, Ordner 1, letter from Carl Stumpf, Psychologisches Institut der Universität Berlin, to the Kultusministerium, 26. 7. 1920

-                IFL, Ordner 1, letter, 18.9.1920

-                IFL, Ordner 1, letter from Doegen to the Kultusministerium, 16.9.19

Universitätskurator 903

-                P. 68, letter from the Preußische Ministerium, signed Gerullis, to the director of the Lautabteilung Professor Doegen in Berlin NW 7, Unter den Linden 38, 16.5.1933

-                AHUB, Universitätskurator no. 903, pp. 96-99, report of the Lautabteilung, 1.10.1931 to 30.9.1932

-                Pp. 27-31, letter from Westermann to the Minister für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Volksbildung for the attention of the Verwaltungsdirektor, Mr. Büchsel, 15.12.1933: “Ausgestaltung der Lautabteilung zu einem Institut für Lautforschung”

-                Letter from the Preußische Minister für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Volksbildung, signed Haupt, 14.2.1934 (UI no. 20462) to the university Verwaltungsdirektor


Archiv der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (AÖAW)

-                Phonogrammarchiv, Karton 1, Mappe 1899, charter application by Sigmund Exner to the Akademie, 28.4.1899


Bundesarchiv Berlin (BA)

-                R 4901 Akte 1475, Bl. 194-195, letter from Prof. Dr. A. Hübner to the Preußische Kultusministerium, 1.2.1933


Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußisches Kulturbesitz (GSTA)

-                I. HA Rep. 76 Ministerium der geistlichen, Unterrichts- und Medizinalangelegenheiten (Kultusministerium), Va Sekt 2 Tit 10 no. 250, vol. I: Wilhelm Doegen: Denkschrift über die Errichtung einer LAUTABTEILUNG in der Preuss. Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, November 1918. [= Doegen 1918]

-                GSTA, vol. 1, Bl. 7-8, entry by Wilhelm Doegen, 6.1.1919


Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM)

-                Personenkonvolut Wilhelm Doegen, Rep. XVIII / K1 / F4 / M1 (3), first chapter of an autobiography by Wilhelm Doegen, probably from the 1960s.                     




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Scheffner, Philip (Director) (2007). The Halfmoon Files. A Ghost Story ... [Video]. Berlin: pong film gmbh.


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Audio Sources


Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

-                PK 319, documentation

-                PK 1132

-                PK 1203

-                PK 1236

-                LA 1 and LA 2