Thirteen days before the Soviets fought their way onto the Ufa film studio grounds of Ufastadt – Babelsberg, work by the remaining employees there was still underway. Many of the men were gone, being called up for either the Wehrmacht or the Volksturm. Nine months earlier, the number of employees working there tallied over 1,800.
We have acquired original documents from early 1945 from the Ufa files, which include this remarkable ledger page, indicating films being edited or re–edited on Wednesday, the 11th of April, 1945.
The sheet lists feature films and short films being edited in the Editing Hall (show below circa 1935) that day.
The editing facilities that day, as per the tally sheet below, were being used to work on two Veit Harlan Agfacolor films, Kolberg and Opfergang, as well as the Peter Pewas film Der verzauberte Tag, and the never-completed Tierarzt Dr. Vlimmen. Some cultural film shorts were also being edited.
Opfergang had premiered five months earlier, in December, 1944 and Kolberg had premiered on 30 January 1945, so why would these films still be worked on months after their premieres? A film historian in Potsdam has suggsted that "the allocation of the editing tables to productions that are already being rented out may be explained by the wear and tear on the first negative. For color films there was always a second original negative because the demand for copies was so great. Of course, this second negative had to be cut to serve as a new template for copies. That could have been for the foreign versions, but also for the national market, if more copies were needed. The other films mentioned: "The Enchanted Day" (Der verzauberte Tag) was reworked again and again after it was banned in order to bring it to the cinema. Without success. "Veterinarian Dr. Vlimmen" and "Die Schenke zur Ewigen Liebe" both didn't make it to a premiere and remained unfinished. " (The Dr.Vlimmen film was, we do know, was in final preparation for music synchronisation, but the film was not completed before the war ended.)
The grounds of the Ufa Babelsberg studios being cleared of debris after the Soviets overran it on April 24, 1945: