Voice Recordings of Prisoners of FIRST WORLD WAR at HALFMOON JAIL CAMP, Berlin Germany

Recording Studio Made at Halfmoon Jail Camp

Prisoner Speaking in Recording Tunnel


The Halbmondlager (known in English as the “Half Moon Camp”) was a prisoner-of-war camp in Wünsdorf (now part of Zossen), Germany, during the First World War.

About 100 years later at Halfmoon Camp, the detained “exotic” prisoners of war became objects of different scientific research projects.

On February 27th, 1914, the Prussian Cultural Ministry receives a proposal by Wilhelm Doegen to establish a sound archive of “All the People of the World”. Based on his idea, the “Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission” was set-up on October 27th, 1915. and the project of recording of languages, carried out by the “Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission”.

This commission was comprised of over 30 scientists from the fields of linguistics, musicology and anthropology. The aim of the commission was to systematically record the different languages and the music of all those interned in the German prisoner of war camps.

Under the technical direction of Wilhelm Doegen, 1650 recordings of languages were made.

The recordings were produced as the result of an unique alliance between the military, the scientific community and the entertainment industry.

Those who pressed the record button on the phonographs, on photo and film cameras, were the ones to write official history.
The recordings form the basic stock of the Berlin Sound Archive, located at the Humboldt-University Berlin.

These recordings labeled with the registration number PK+ number are the “THE HALFMOON FILES”.

Most of the recordings have an impersonal or mythological background: fairy tales, fables, religious texts, alphabets, sample words, series of numbers.