Berlin Film Festival Announces New Prize After Pulling Award Honoring Alleged Nazi

Institute for Contemporary History to research first festival’s director past following newspaper report linking him to Nazi government

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Boards advertise the upcoming Berlinale international film festival on the Potsdamer platz in Berlin, February 1, 2020
Boards advertise the upcoming Berlinale international film festival on the Potsdamer platz in Berlin, February 1, 2020Credit: AFP
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The Berlin International Film Festival will award a special prize this year, organizers announced on Tuesday. The decision tries to fill the gap following the suspension of an award last month honoring the first festival director, after allegations that he had a Nazi past.

The new prize, a Silver Bear marking the festival's 70th anniversary, will be awarded by the international jury.

The German newspaper Die Zeit reported in January that Alfred Bauer, who was in charge of the Berlinale from 1951 to 1976, was a "high-ranking functionary in Nazi film bureaucracy." He is said to have concealed his role.

The Berlinale has now asked the Institute for Contemporary History to research Bauer's past.

"We are convinced that an external and independent group of historians should investigate Alfred Bauer's position in the Nazi regime," Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek said in a statement.

The Institute for Contemporary History was created in 1949 to scientifically study the National Socialist dictatorship.

The Alfred Bauer Prize had been awarded since 1987 to honor particularly innovative film-making.

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