The Red Flag over the Reichstag

Le drapeau de la victoire

reichstag_altered

Directly inspired by Joe Rosenthal’s photo of raising the flag on Iwo Jima, Stalin ordered the Ukrainian photographer Yevgeny Khaldei take a similar photo that would symbolize the Soviet victory over Germany. Khaldei hired his family friend, Israil Solomonovich Kishitser, to make three flags for him which he made from red tablecloths. Khaldei photographed the first flag being raised at the airport, and the second flag being raised at the Brandenburg gate.

However, Khaldei sadly found out that the Soviet soldiers had already succeeded in raising a flag over the Reichstag a few days earlier. Yet, he recruited a small group of soldiers and, on May 2, 1945, proceeded to recreate the scene. On close examination, the censors noticed that one of the soldiers had a wristwatch on each arm, indicating he had been looting. Khaldei not only removed the watches from the photo, but also darkened the smoke in the background (right) to make his picture more dramatic. The resulting picture(below) was published soon after in the magazine Ogonjok to achieved worldwide fame.

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