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Deutsches Technikmuseum - January

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month January 2015

Photo: The skate blades are attached to elegant semi-tall brown lace-up boots. The ski boots are made of brown leather and have a thick sole.

Elegance for her, rugged chic for him: footwear for winter sports 80 years ago. © SDTB / photo: C. Kirchner

Ski boots and ice skates, circa 1935

Like skiing, ice-skating is thousands of years old.

At first, ice skaters simply tied bones to the bottom of their shoes. In the Netherlands ice skates were mainly used on the frozen canals as a means of travel. It was there that the first boots with metal blades were produced.

Skis, too, were initially used for transportation purposes before they became sports equipment. They prevent a person from sinking into the snow by their distributing weight over a larger area. As a result, skiers are able to reach remote areas in the winter. Due to their gliding properties, travelling on skis is much faster than going by foot.

Enthusiasm about winter sports throughout the German Reich

The skis and ice skates shown here were donated to the Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin by Erika Helm. She can remember when back in the late 1930s she worked during summer vacation in order to earn the 35 Reichsmark she needed to buy a pair of used ice skates from a neighbour.

Black-and-white graphic: A young and pretty female skater is jumping high and elegantly across the ice. In the background a crowd of people.

In 1938 the "POLAR-POST" advertises its most comfortable ice skates / Zoom (in German)

Like a lot of youths at the time, she was very enthusiastic about winter sports. The 1936 Olympic Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen had inspired such enthusiasm throughout the German Reich. The National Socialists used the Games for propaganda purposes. That was the last time the “Third Reich” presented itself in a cosmopolitan light. It soon showed its true colours in the Second World War.

In the winter of 1941/42 Erika Helm gave her skis to the German Armed Forces for the Russian campaign. She did, however, keep her ice skates. The ski boots displayed here belong to her husband.

 

This text was written during a student’s internship in our museum. The authors are Paul Görgeleit (8th grade) and Benjamin Huth (Deutsches Technikmuseum, road traffic department).

Right image: Company Catalogue Polar (Remscheidt, 1938), Cover page and double-page spread © SDTB, Historical archive / photo: C. Kirchner

The blade of the ice skate displayed here can be seen at the bottom of page 11 of the catalogue under the name "POLAR-Astor". The boots for the blades had to be ordered separately.