WW2 History Club
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010 11:07
To: WW2 History Club
Subject: WW2 History Club ... 3rd Reich Pix Update
I sent out an email on June 5th ( July 24th for new members) that included a PowerPoint attachment of remarkable 3rd Reich photos in color. Thanks to club member Wray Hall’s email that prompted a little research, I have some information on the origin of those photos.
At least one other copy of the identical PowerPoint slide show is circulating on the web with an accompanying “origin”. The email title is Life Magazine Lost Pixs and the story behind the pictures is:
These pictures were taken by a Life photographer between 1939 and 1940 in Berlin and were lost for over 50 years because the American photographer disappeared at the beginning of the war, along with his Rolleiflex camera.
Shown here are the originals (used at that time in the production of magazines). The majority are 6" X 9". They were found by a nurse in a Berlin hospital , who kept them put away during all these years. After her death her daughter returned them to the current editors, who retain the copyrights to Life magazine, which has not been published since the early '70s.
Although the above sounds possible, I wondered about a few things. For example:
· why was the title in French?
· At least one picture, slide #41 – shows a scene that is rather intimate/informal and not the type of scene you would expect a Life photographer to be able to take and publish.
· Color negatives and prints from the 1940s would have been made of materials that would probably not have lasted 50 years unless properly preserved
· Why were so many of the photos of Hitler or a scene where Hitler might be.
I started with the pictures that depicted Hitler at some sort of auto show (slides 16, 17, and 19) and did a little investigation at the Life Magazine archives site. I discovered that these pictures were taken at the International Auto Show in February, 1939 by Hugo Jaeger, Hitler’s personal photographer. I also found that slide #s 8, 20 and 45 were from that auto show. With a little further checking, I found something pretty useful on the Der Spiegel (German magazine) web site from 31-Jan-2005:
Of the hundreds of thousands of color photos that were taken by American, British and German photographers during the war, many have been forgotten or were never published. A collection of these intensely realistic pictures has now been unearthed and compiled by DER SPIEGEL: "Pictures of the Second World War," published by editor Michael Sontheimer, brings together 330 mostly color photos of the war that have so far not been given their public due.
The bizarre path that images can sometimes take on their way from the camera to the public is demonstrated by the color pictures taken during the war by one of Hitler's personal photographers, Hugo Jaeger, whose photos make up many of those appearing in the book. Unlike Hilter's main photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, Jaeger specialized in taking color photos of the Nazi propaganda spectacles as well as Hitler himself. The book shows the strength of Jaeger's photographs in expressing the hypnotic power of the spectacle of the Nazis and the creation of the Fuehrer mythology that the majority of the Germany people subscribed to.
When the Allied victory began to look certain, Jaeger carefully packed his negatives into preserving jars and buried them in the ground, fearing that his work would be seen as incriminating by the advancing Allied troops. In 1970, he sold about 2,000 slides to the American magazine Life, making public for the first time some of the best photographs of Hitler. Then his work disappeared from public view, gathering dust in the archives of the Getty Images photo agency, where it has remained unappreciated and largely unknown until now (2005).
This does not explain how or why selected Life Archive pictures ended up in a PowerPoint slide show, but I do know a bit about how the slide show was prepared – it was prepared using a French version of PowerPoint on 04-Aug-2009 by a person whose initials are “MT” and who spent 68 minutes creating the file (scary, huh?) And it does not explain why the pictures in the PowerPoint slide show have the LIFE logo on the right but the Life archives has them on the left.
For a little more on Hugo Jaeger, click here. NOTE: the wikipedia article indicates that Jaeger sold the photos to Life in 1965, Der Spiegel says 1970. I am inclined to believe Der Spiegel. The wikipedia article implies that all of the Jaeger photos were published by Life in (or about) 2009. I have looked through the galleries; there are less than 100 photos in total. I have found hundreds Jaeger photos in the Life archives that are not part of the galleries, so it is clear that only a portion of the Jaeger photos were published in the mentioned galleries. There are some amazing pictures in the Life Archives but few are easily accessible via the “galleries”
I have found about half the PowerPoint pictures in the Life Archives; all are attributed to Hugo Jaeger. Slide #41 (mentioned above) is a picture of Hitler and Gertrud Forster (wife of Albert Forster, Nazi governor of a large region of Poland). When I have a little more time, I will track down all the photos (I am sure they are all in the archives and attributable to Hugo Jaeger) and send out the pix again with info on each picture.
So the story circulating about the nurse is an interesting story but not true:
· It directly conflicts with the documented origin of some of the pictures (if the Life Magazine archives attributes a picture to Hugo Jaeger, I am inclined to believe it)
· It directly conflicts with the item from Der Spiegel (and other references I found)
· Some of the pictures are not from 1939 or 1940
· Some of the pictures were not taken in Berlin
· If the story were true, there would have been stories and documentation in newspapers, magazines, etc., and no such documentation was found (by me)
Probably more than you ever wanted to know …