A glimpse into a private life

June 14, 2009 at 2:38 am 1 comment

I’ve been reading a really interesting biography of the American photographer, Lee Miller, who was one of the first female photographers to emerge in the 1920s and 1930s. She was a war correspondent and photographed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. If you want to see some of Miller’s truly outstanding photos, go here. So my head has been in the WWII era and I did a search for wartime photographs as I love the era of black and white film photography. I am now working with B&W film (you can access my Flickr photos by scrolling down the right hand panel of this blog).

Anyway, my search turned up some amazing photos, particularly some unseen photographs of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi era that have recently come to light. Hugo Jaeger was Hitler’s personal photographer and snapped photos between 1936 and Hitler’s death in 1945. As often seems to happen, Jaegar hid his colour transparencies in a leather suitcase (I say often because thousands of Robert Capa’s negatives were hidden away in a Mexican suitcase and, although a writer not a photographer, Irene Nemirovky’s manuscript of Suite Française, was rediscovered in the late 1990s by her daughter). It strikes me that rare talent is often secreted away in a suitcase or lost manuscript.

So Jaeger’s transparencies were hidden because he feared they would be destroyed following the downfall of the Nazi regime. And here’s the interesting part – in 1945, six US soldiers searched the house near Munich where the transparencies were being safeguarded. They found the suitcase, opened it and scoffed the bottle of cognac that Jaeger had placed in the suitcase with the transparencies (sharing the bottle with Jaeger I might add). They left, forgetting the rest of the suitcase’s contents, and Jaegar proceeded to hide the transparencies in 12 glass jars, buried on the outskirts of Munich. Love this sort of story!

Then…after WWII, he revisited the spot where he’d buried the glass jars, dug them up and reburied them in a new spot. In 1955, he retrieved some 2000 transparencies and popped them into a bank vault until 1965 when he sold them to Life magazine.  I’m not sure if Life ever published them but they have now been published to coincide with the 65th anniversary of D-Day (June 6). The colour photos show the private life of Hitler; some incredible interior shots of Berghof, Hitler’s mountain estate in Bavaria and his residence in Berlin. You can see all the photos here but these are the ones I found most fascinating:

Adolf Hitler chats with several young women on a promenade of the German cruise ship Robert Ley (named after a prominent Nazi labor leader) on its maiden voyage on April 1st, 1939.

Inside Hitler’s apartment – his room in his Berlin apartment reflects Hitler’s baroque, often sentimental taste. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never stopped to think of what his interior design taste was like. I can’t quite reconcile the soft, elegant shapes with Hitler I’m afraid.

This is an amazing photo – sentries guarding the entrance to Adolf Hitler’s office in the Chancellery. Hitler was obsessed with over-sized architecture and overly grand monuments that would awe and humble any visitor.

Source: The Telegraph. Photos: Hugo Jaeger/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

I came across some more remarkable WWII photos. Check this stunning shot of a United States Air Transport Command plane flying over the pyramids in Egypt in 1943:

And this one of US paratroopers over Holland – 1st Allied Airborne Army. September 1944.

You can see more incredible WWII photos at WW2 in Color.


Entry filed under: Photography. Tags: , , , , , , .

Some simple questions Empathy chip missing

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. caitlin  |  November 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Great photos. Thanks for sharing.


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