Rabenalt's Fronttheater (1942) – Special Section
The 1942 feature film starring René Deltgen, Heli Finkenzeller, Willi Rose, and the two Höfpner sisters, Hedi and Margot; was filmed in Bordeux, in Babelsberg (Potsdam) and on location in Athens and Saloniki during the fourth year of WWII.
The Collection has the two German posters, the Hungarian poster, the pressbook and sixteen film stills and press photos of the film. In April 2014 Fronttheater memorabilia from Feldwebel Alfred Sonntag was acquired at auction. He was technical leader assigned in May 1942 to the Terra Filmkunst artists and crew by the "Strength through Joy" organisation in Greater Saloniki to assist with the film.
Materials in his estate include 9 behind–the–scenes B&W photos (two of the photos are shown below) of the film–shoot at the Acropolis, film announcements to the Wehrmacht about the film shoot, personal correspondence between himself and the two actors Deltgen and Willi Rose into 1943; and a Fronttheater 'Erinnerung' sheet signed by eight film crew, including the Director, Cameraman, Productions Head; as well as all twelve actors and actresses,as well as the two ballet dancers, the Höpfner sisters.
Here are 3 behind-the-scenes snapshots of the Lessing play Minna von Barnhelm being staged for the open air theater scenes in the Arthur Rabenalt film Fronttheater.
BELOW: In our Collection is this handbill dated May 1942 inviting Wehrmacht soldiers to "two hours of fun" to appear as the audience in the Athens amphitheatre for the film's stage play scenes. This arrangement was mandated by the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, under the auspices of SS-Man and State Council Ministerial Director Hans Hinkel, who in March 1944 became the Reichsfilmintendant, the most powerful film man in Nazi Germany under Dr. Goebbels. His official press photo from April 1944 is at right. In the first few years after Hitler's takeover of power, Hinkel was responsible for overseeing the cleaning out of all Jews from the German film industry.
BELOW, the cast and crew posing in the Athens Amphitheater, 1942....
BELOW – An Ufa film studio autographed portrait mounted photograph of René Deltgen, dated July 1941, out of the presentation box of photographs of Ufa's leading actors given to all participants in that year's International Film Congress, held in Berlin (from our Collection).
In May 2022 we acquired an original copy of the Fronttheater film script which came out of the estate of Rudolf Schündler, an actor who appeared in the film and who, as per the above documents, was also in charge of the management of the stage scenes shot in the amphitheater in Athens which appeared in the film. The script's cover is missing, but all text pages are intact. The pages are the carbon paper copy made on the typewriter when the script was readied. All 337 pages are intact.