German Camera Industry

BIOS Final Report 184


Reproted by:

B.I.O.S Trip No. 913

BIOS Target Nos: C9/525, 9/121, C9/443, C9/364, C9/547, 9/124, 9/130


Report on

The team left England on August 8th, returning August 26th (1945)

For the most part the Germans who were interrogated appeared very co-operative, but it must be emphasized that some of the facts or figures can only be taken at their face value.

From the German worker's point of view, wages were not low; but the British manufacturer had to compete with the external value of the mark and the effect of this was to lower German prices by some 15% to 20%. German wages expressed in sterling and not in internal purchasing power less, approximately, by this amount.

Report on Visit to:- Friedrich Deckel, Precision Engineers, 7-13 Waakirchner Strasse, Munich 25

Bomb damage has completely destroyed much of the office accommodation and .. The remaining 60% -? is undamaged, except superficially.

Compur Shutter pre-war .. 30,000 and 50,000 monthly ..

Report on Ernst Leitz; This large, old established and very sound firm was founded nearly a century ago and passed into family control in 1863 ... and for the year 1938 the output of these (Leica camera) totalled 40,000. The business has been built up by virtue of the very high quality maintained. .. When visited the firm were working to about 10% of capacity on microscopes, binocular and instrument repairs, and Leica cameras (150 per week) for the American authorities.

It was stated that there had been no bank or Governemet loans and the family appear to live simply and the re-invest their profits in the business.

 ... Of the workers 25% were highly skilled, 50% skilled or semi-skilled, the remainder unskilled.

Every complete Leica lens is checked by taking 10 photographs of the usual flat black and white test chart at distances varying from 1.25 to 10 metres.

Survey and conclusions: The administrative and financial structure of the Leitz organisation is impressive. They are the largest single unit outside Zeiss and like the other factories have been engaged throughout the war on armament production of the most important types. Leitz plant is not so much a mass production unit as a factory turning out large numbers of really high class optical and scientific instruments. The main impression one gets is the usual one of thoroughness but in the case of Leitz it is more marked than in any of the other factories visited. This is supplemented by a conviction that these people are masters of their own art and from research to sales have a complete grasp of every problem likely to arise.

Report on Franke & Heidecke; Address Salzdahlumerstrasse 196, Brockenblick, Brunswick (Braunschweig)

.. The firm was founded in 1920 when the former employees of Voigtländer joined forces with the object of producing stereo cameras on the Reflex principle ... In 1928 they conceived the idea of producing roll film camera using the same principle .. Up to 1939 approximately 330,000 cameras of both types had been manufactured by Franke & Heidecke.

Rolleiflex - Rolleicord


Voigtländer Brunswick (Braunschweig)

Prontor shutters

The factory is at present under the control of the 21st Army Group (British?) ..

600 slave worker were employed during the war and their accommodation, on adjacent ground was seen.




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