A lost heritage: Nazi pictures reveal full devastation wreaked by allied bombers

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A newly discovered collection of more than 3,000 aerial photographs of Germany before and during the allied bombing campaign of the second world war presents the most comprehensive record yet of how devastating the campaign was on the country's cultural heritage, historians claim.

Experts have called "spectacular" and "unique" a wooden box full of negatives found in an attic in the northern city of Kiel, describing them as an inventory of 1940s Germany which throw a new focus on the systematic nature of the allied bombing policy.

The black and white pictures, which have now been digitalised, were commissioned by the Nazis to assist in plans to rebuild German cities once Hitler's Third Reich had conquered Europe.

The photographs, taken diagonally with special cameras from low-flying aircraft, offer detailed views of buildings. They concentrate on Germany's inner cities, which are shown in their full baroque and gothic splendour.

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