NYT Asks Readers to Help Identify Nazi Photo Album
There are certainly many photo albums of Nazi leaders and many photo albums of the Nazis’ victims. But it’s hard to imagine many albums depicting both, just a few pages apart.
At least one does, however, and it has surfaced in New York City. Its creator was able — apparently within weeks — to photograph Hitler as he warred on Russia and also to photograph some of the earliest victims of that brutal campaign, known as Operation Barbarossa, which began 70 years ago Wednesday.
Two pages in this album, on the Eastern Front in 1941, are devoted to prisoners. Some are dressed in rags, some dressed in uniforms of the Red Army, some wearing jackets with Star of David patches. They stand before what might be freshly dug graves. (Their own? Their landsmen?) In six almost intimate pictures, verging on portraiture, men gaze hollowly or defiantly at the camera.
Four pages later, there is Hitler himself, waiting at a train station for the arrival of Adm. Miklos Horthy, the regent of Hungary, with whom he will shortly be bargaining at the East Prussian war headquarters known as the Wolf’s Lair. The photographer stands just a few feet from Hitler, almost as close to the Führer as he stood to the Führer’s prisoners.
Clearly, this photographer had a lot of access — and not a little talent.
But who was he? His perfectly ordinary, store-bought album carries no identification or inscription. A caption is visible on only one of the 214 three-by-four-inch photographs....
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