About the Publication

  • Cover of Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung 38, no. 34 (August 25, 1929). Courtesy Ullstein Bild. © 2014 Axel Springer SE

    The Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (Berlin illustrated newspaper, or BIZ) was a weekly illustrated magazine published in Germany from 1882 to 1945 by the Berlin-based Ullstein Verlag. With a circulation of more than one million by 1920 and more than two million in the 1930s, BIZ grew to be the leading illustrated journal in Germany. With its sensational, eye-catching covers, the magazine placed photographic images at the center of its focus; in the interwar era its pages were filled with spectacular, sometimes humorous photographs documenting sports, leisure activities, political events, industrial innovations, arts, and entertainment. Widely acknowledged as a successful mass-market modern photography magazine, BIZ was a model for Henry Luce’s Life.

    A pioneer of the photoessay, BIZ published up-to-the-minute reportages of current events. It held an exclusive contract with Erich Salomon—whose behind-the-scenes snapshots (such as MoMA 1851.2001, featuring Marlene Dietrich) offered readers insider views of political meetings and celebrities’ lives—and frequently featured reportage by Felix H. Man (including MoMA 1776.2001, which was a cover image in August 1929). Keeping up with the period’s passion for aeronautics, BIZ featured spreads of record-setting transcontinental flights; aerial landscape photographs taken from a hot-air balloon (see MoMA 1811.2001); and daring feats, as in Willi Ruge’s spectacular photoessay I Photograph Myself during a Parachute Jump (Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm), published May 24, 1931 (which included MoMA 1849.2001.11). Also popular were stop-action sports photographs (such as MoMA 1796.2001) by Martin Munkácsi, the magazine’s first staff photographer. In addition to contributions by its regular staff of photo-reporters, BIZ featured images by many of the leading photographers of the era, including Lotte Jacobi, Germaine Krull, Maurice Tabard, Umbo, André Kertész, Sasha Stone, Cami Stone, and Yva.

    Though BIZ remained nonpolitical for most of its years, the magazine fell subject to the regulations of the Nazi propaganda ministry, and with the onset of World War II it took on a distinctly Aryanized nationalistic tenor and began publishing stories on Nazi military victories. At the close of the war, with the fall of Nazi Germany, the magazine ceased production.

    —Audrey Sands

  • Alternate title(s) BIZ
  • Language(s) German
  • Dates Surveyed 1917–31

Additional Photos

Das Riesenspielzeug. Die Welt von oben: Fahrten mit dem Freiballon” (“The giant toy. The world from above: Rides in a hot-air balloon”). Spread from Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, no. 2 (January 11, 1925). Courtesy Ullstein Bild. © 2014 Axel Springer SE

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Contributor: Frieda Gertrud Riess
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The Stones publish photographs in G, Die Form, Das Kunstblatt, UHU, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, Der Querschnittand Gebrauchsgraphik
Contributor: Sasha Stone, Cami Stone
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Publishes photographs in Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Die Dame, Der Querschnitt, UHU, Berliner Morgenpost, B-Z am Mittag, Das Blatt der Hausfrau, and Die Woche
Contributor: Lotte Jacobi
Works as a freelance photographer for Ullstein Verlag. Publishes photographs in BIZ, Die Dame, Das Deutsche Lichtbild, Der Querschnitt, Uhu, Vossische Zeitung, and Die Woche
Berlin Stuttgart
Publishes extensively in Münchner Illustrierte Zeitung, Uhu, Die Dame, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Das Illustrirte Zeitung, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Fortune
Salomon works under contract with Berliner Illustierte Zeitung and the Associated Press.
Contributor: Erich Salomon
New York Munich Berlin
Works for Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
Contributor: Martin Munkácsi
Publishes extensively in Münchner Illustrierte Zeitung and Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung
Contributor: Felix H. Man
Munich Berlin
Sells his photographs to Weltrundschau, Kölnische Illustrierte Zeitung, and Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
Contributor: Erich Comeriner
Berlin Cologne Baar
Publishes photographs in Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, Die Dame, Die schöne Frau, Die neue Linie, UHU, Das Magazin, Revue des monats, Figaro, and Münchner Illustrierte Presse
Contributor: Yva (Else Simon)
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The parachuting series is first published in Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, where it proves extremely popular
Contributor: Willi Ruge


Walther Photographs

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