„Attention, attention. This is Berlin on wavelength 400m“

January 30, 2018


These historic words, transmitted from the VOX building in Berlin on 29th October 1923, heralded the era of public entertainment broadcasting in Germany. The State Secretary of the Imperial Postal Service, Dr. Hans Bredow, had been a vocal proponent of a commercial broadcasting service and was now eager to see the response in the public.

Half a year later, Dr. Bredow addressed the founding session of the Heinrich Hertz Society for the Development of Radio Technology on 31st May 1924 in Hamburg: “the state of our nation calls on us to not cease our empirical efforts (in the area of radio technology) for the lack of resources. We need a neutral organization to bring together all forces in the field.“

The President of the Deutsche Reichspost and later founding Director of the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Professor Dr. Karl Willy Wagner, supported the call for a dedicated research institute for high-frequency technology. Despite misgivings about financing these plans, a decision was taken to start an association for the “Creation and operation of a research institute for empirical and technical research in the field of electric and acoustic oscillation, to be integrated with the Technical University at Charlottenburg”. The association’s initial members included:

  • The German Imperial Postal Service
  • The Prussian Ministry of Science, Art, and Education
  • The Technical University of Berlin 
  • The General Electricity Society of Berlin
  • Siemens & Halske A.G. of Berlin
  • Telefunken-Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H. of Berlin

In Section 4 of its charter, the association’s members committed themselves to provide an initial endowment of 575,000 Reichsmark; other members contributed an annual sum of 55,000 Reichsmark. On 28th May 1927, the new association was formally announced in the Official Register of the State Police District Berlin. It was registered officially on 22nd September 1927 - an important milestone in the evolution of the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut.