Project Description

Pictures make history, but seldom are the same pictures so often attributed to a story as they are to the political upheaval of 1989/90 in Germany. The atmosphere preceding the Fall of the Wall, daily life during changing times, and the parallelism of euphoria and uncertainty form the core of significant experiences that seldom found their way into the flood of pictures. This motivated the Deutsche Kinemathek to give these images from private collections their own space in which they might be reflected upon anew.

Central to the project are the photographic stories told by all who used a camera to document the moods and experiences of 1989/90. Family pictures, travels, protests, the Fall of the Wall and the speedy transformation of all types of structures – be they political, social or architectural – these are the dominant themes in the pictures.

Since 2015 the concept of collecting private films and photos is extented by audiovisual documents from public broadcasting. The goal is to document the television coverage and to contrast the private view.

Internet Archive

We began research for photos and films in Summer of 2008, and have now collected thousands of your pictures for the project. All of these photos, as well as the films in their full length, are available for viewing and comment in our Internet Archive. In order to make the project accessible in an appropriate format, the open-source collections management system CollectiveAccess was further developed and expanded, in close cooperation with the bpb (Federal Center for Political Education) and the New York software development firm Whirl-i-Gig.

Our goal was to make a Website by users, for users. As a registered user, you can rate or comment on photos and films, as well as create your own albums. In addition, most of the objects are under a Creative Commons license, making the images more easily accessible for research by schools and universities. The faceted search allows you to search for the desired licence: BY-NC-ND and BY-SA. The last one allows the commercial use of the documents. The terms of use are explained in detail at the linked Creative Commons website.

This collection is just a starting point. The project will be continued beyond 2009. Send us your photos and tell us your stories!


The Internet archive has its origins in the 2009 exhibition "Moments in Time 1989/1990", at the Museum for Film and Television in Berlin. A selection curated from the submitted photographs and films formed the centre of the exhibition. This was juxtaposed with images from international television broadcasts and German documentary films. You can find the six exhibition chapters with some 300 private records on the page THEMES.