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 A report on 1947 Kiev Contax

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Luiz Paracampo Posted - Mar 07 2024 : 01:37:03 AM
7   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
seany65 Posted - Apr 15 2024 : 6:17:28 PM
Jacques, Thank you for the link to the translation. It looks like a long and detailed report.
Jacques M. Posted - Apr 02 2024 : 08:14:17 AM

If useful, the translation in English is here:
seany65 Posted - Mar 31 2024 : 6:23:35 PM
Thank you Vlad and xva for the information.
uwittehh Posted - Mar 13 2024 : 4:39:59 PM
Please also read the documents of Bernd K. Otto on my site (german only):



xya Posted - Mar 13 2024 : 3:54:52 PM
I had a book about the Zeiss factories with day to day dates from April 1945 to 1st of July 1948, when Zeiss became a "VEB, Volkseigener Betrieb" that means it was nationalised in Eastern Germany.

The book tells the German part of the story, not what happened in Russia with the confiscated machines and with the deported workers. I only made an excerpt for copyright reasons, but maybe the information illustrates a bit what happened in those days and how so many parts were mixed between the different German productions and the Russian production later. Obviously there were some cameras with Kiev inscription made by Zeiss for the Russian occupants.

According to the book the American arrived before the end of the war, the 13th of April 1945. A third of the Jena factory was destroyed. They brought in American scientists on April 16 that confiscated products worth about about 13 million Marks that were brought to the „Francfort Arsenal“ in Dayton/Ohio.

On the 8th of May 1945 the war was over. The 13th of May the Americans confiscated another 9 tons of highly specific optical material to be brought to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, to be inspected and freely taken over by the American industry and by their army.

On June 18, the Americans supplied a list of 84 Zeiss employees, 41 specialists from the Schott company and also 200 members of the University of Jena, to be brought to the Western zone under the motto "We take the brain". The 24th of June, the American troops brought the managers from the Zeiss laboratories, design offices, workshops and administration and their families to Oberkochen on 14 lorries. American troops left the city of Jena on June 30.

1st of July Russian troops occupied the city and the Carl Zeiss factory in Jena. The immediate start of the lens production for the purpose of reparation deliveries was ordered.

As the Zeiss Dresden factories were destroyed, but the Zeiss-Ikon factories in Dresden were partly viable, the Russians organized a resumption of the Zeiss production, mainly for the Contax. Three former factories, Zeiss-Ikon Dresden, SAG Saalfeld and Zeiss Jena, had to deliver Contax cameras and lenses and all factories would eventually be dismantled and sent to Russia later for reparation purposes.

In October 1945 the Russians ordered all technical drawings to be copied and to be sent to Russia together with some cameras from recent production. They began to dismantle big parts of the Jena factory to be sent to Russia and announced that specialist workers would be sent to Russia as well, but they spared the much needed Contax production. In April 1946 all drawings provided with Cyrillic designations were given to the Russians. They decided that the camera would no longer be named Contax, but Volga.

Machines from Jena were packed and brought to Russia in October 1946. At the same time, 274 key employees were forcibly conscripted to the USSR for five years. 200 came came to Krasnogorsk, 45 to Isjum near Kiev and 29 to Leningrad.

In November 1946 they decided that the designations Contax and Volga were to be changed to Kiev. In order to avoid delays in the assembly of the first and second zero series, parts already bearing the Contax markings could be be used as is. The names were to be changed to "Kiev" in any case for the third zero series.

In September 1947 the Saalfeld production was suddenly stopped and all machines were taken to Russia.

On the 1st of July 1948 the Zeiss factory was nationalised. They continued to produce about 1500 cameras for the Russians until 1949.

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
Vlad Posted - Mar 11 2024 : 4:19:56 PM
Sean, they force-moved the workers from Jena to Kiev with all the know-how and I'm sure whatever documentation they had they may have taken with them. Jena was relatively spared from the destruction unlike the Dresden plant that was pretty bombed out.

seany65 Posted - Mar 10 2024 : 5:46:49 PM
Thanks for the link Luiz. I wonder if any of the parts that had to be finished in Ukraine, had to be finished without the technical info and documents?

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