In the spring and summer of 1937, the Norwegian engineer Thomas Neumann was an eager photographer of different motives in Germany and Norway. The film he used was the first of its kind, and very few photos remain in Norwegian collections. From swastika flags flying in the wind and maypoles in Berlin, to sailboats and skiing in Norway – we get a unique coloured picture of the interwar period.
Thomas Neumann (1901-1978) earned his degree as an electrical engineer in Dresden. After his graduation in 1928, he worked in Berlin until 1933. Then he worked in various Norwegian companies. Neumann became a member of the Norwegian Nazi party Nasjonal Samling (NS) from the party’s early days. Here he became an important supporter of Johan B. Hjort, who from 1935 was the leader of Hirden (a paramilitary organization under NS). Neumann was appointed propaganda leader in Oslo and Akershus. Neumann left NS in 1937. In October 1944 he was arrested for illegal activity and was imprisoned at Grini until the end of the war.
Colour photography was made accessible to a greater audience in the last half of the 1930s. The companies Kodak (USA) and Agfa (Germany) competed in becoming the first to launch a method that would make colour photography with slides easy and cheap to use.
We have received the following comment from Michael Talbert, England:
"That such a great many of Agfa Neu photographs have survived for 75 years is incredible ! Apart from the green dye fading from almost all of them they look to be in very good condition for their age, and they were taken only one year after the Agfa Color Neu film was marketed.
Apart from the green dye, it looks as if the transparencies have changed to a blue magenta colour as the reds have gone bluish. This maybe due to heat as well as dye fading. Also there is the possibility that some of the unused dye couplers left in the transparencies after processing may contribute to a certain amount of dye fading, or changing the colours of the dyes. But it is amazing that they are in such good condition. And of course, they are a real credit to the Agfa company, and the team under Schneider and Willmanns, who took six years to invent the film, the first film ever in the world to have the dye couplers incorporated into the film, before Kodak, before Ansco, and long before Ilford.
Very rare photographs, and a fascinating glimpse in colour of Berlin before the second world war."