The Institute’s reconstruction


In December 1946, the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut was featured on the cover of Funktechnik journal. The issue included a detailed report on the recently rebuilt Institute with unfeigned admiration for their achievement.

The end of the Second World War left the HHI in a precarious situation: The old Institute building was completely destroyed and the laboratory equipment had been lost, outsourced or confiscated. In addition, the infrastructure in Berlin was largely destroyed.

Gustav Leithäuser became the man of the first hour. Before the war, he had already headed a department at the HHI, but was dismissed in 1936 for having a half-Jewish wife. From 1945 onwards, he taught high-frequency technology at the Technische Hochschule (the later Technical University of Berlin). He became the “Director of Reconstruction” for the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut. About 50 members of staff supported him in this endeavor. They found accomodation in the Jebensstraße and in the Haus des Rundfunks on Masurenallee and were soon able to resume scientific operations.

Raising sufficient funds in the British sector of Berlin proved a difficult task. Professor Leithäuser successfully requested the HHI’s affiliation with the German Academy of Sciences in the Soviet sector.

In addition to general teaching and research activities, the institute took on assignments from the Soviet occupying forces. The responsible officer Captain Davidoff received a list of possible working areas, including the following choices:

  • Speech transmission via carrier frequency methods based on reutilization of iron transmission lines (as existed in the Soviet Union)
  • Electromechanical filters
  • Broadcasting stations with automatic feed
  • Distortion meters for telegraphy circuits

The Funktechnik reportet several times on the research activities of the Heichrich Hertz Institute throughout its print run from December 1946 to December 1986. An archive of nearly all issues is available at the “Museum für professionelle Fernsehtechnik und Fernsehgeschichte im Internet”, a virtual museum of German TV history that was created with much dedication by a private initiative.