Best known for his Reichstag flag rising picture, Yevgeny Khaldei (1917-1997) was the premier Red Army photographer from 1939 to 1948. Eventually, he was dismissed by Stalin’s anti-Semitism, but in 1945, he was the Soviets’ frontline photographer in the International Miltary Tribunals in Nuremberg. Nuremberg was a difficult assignment many photojournalists. Access to the courtroom was tightly governed under rules drafted by the Americans. Three glass enclosures were distributed along the edges of the room, and photographers were confined to them, two-by-two, and given only three minutes to shoot. One enclosure faced the dock, another faced the justices, and the third faced the those who had gathered to observe the proceedings. Khaldei finally circumvented the restriction by bribing an assistant to one of the Soviet justices with a bottle of gin in exchange for a better seat – the seat that yielded one of the most interesting photographs of Hermann Göring and the Trials.
Hermann Goering was extremely angry that the soldiers allowed a Russian (let alone a Jew) to photograph him. Dressed in his Soviet naval uniform (which further annoyed Goering) Khaldei pursued Goering aggressively: “I took lots of pictures of Göring because I thought, ‘Hitler is dead.’ That makes Göring public enemy number one. I took pains to be near him at all times.” With the help of an American MP and his baton, Goering was forced to face Khaldei’s lens, and even to have his picture taken with him. Towards the end of the trial, before the sentencing, Khaldei had his photo taken standing near Göring by a colleague. With the exception of his mother, Khaldei’s entire family had been slaughtered by the Germans in 1941.
Above clockwise: Streicher, Jodl, Sauckel, Frick, Ribbentrop; below, clockwise from topright, Keitel, Rosenberg, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Kaltenbrunner, Goering.
Although the Nuremberg Trials had been a media circus, only a selected group of reporters were allowed into the execution chambers of the Nazi war criminals. The authorities feared that the Nazi leaders would get sympathy or they would become martyrs if the executions turned into a media spectacle. Eight journalists from Big Four countries were selected by lottery, but only one photographer (and he was from U.S. Army) was allowed behind the close doors to report the last moments inside the prison.
The French judges suggested the use of a firing squad for the military condemned, but the other judges deemed undignified execution by hanging more appropriate. The hangings were carried out on 16 October 1946 by the executioner John C. Woods. Of the 12 defendants sentenced to death by hanging, two were not hanged: Hermann Göring committed suicide the night before the execution and Martin Bormann was not present when convicted. The remaining 10 defendants sentenced to death were hanged. The bodies were brought to Dachau and burned (the final use of the crematories there) with the ashes then scattered into a river.
The pictures of the executed corpses made by Edward F. McLaughlin (the U.S army photographer) were released in November (to dispel the rumors that the hangings which were conducted secretly, were bungled or never carried out), and were received by much disapproval. Many feared the criminals becoming the martyrs through these pictures. The British government voted against releasing the pictures on moral grounds, and no British publications reproduced them, honoring their government’s desires. The pictures were forbidden in the German press. LIFE magazine, above, however , reproduced them.
Now that you are here: I am doing something crassly commercial here. I just signed up for Patreon. Patreon is a fundraising platform. In their words, “Patreon is an Internet-based platform that allows content creators to build their own subscription content service.” As you may notice in last few years, I have been posting very infrequently. But I want IP to go on for a long time and be sustainable. Linking a monetary value to a new post (not a ‘monthly salary’ — which is another way of doing Patreon) should give me a marginal incentive to write more. As far as the blog is concerned, nothing will change. No paywalls. Patreon is more useful for YouTubers and podcasters, but let’s see how it goes for me: https://www.patreon.com/iconicphotos
A rare photo of Adolf Hitler with a top hat, by Times Wide World Photo. Left to right: Reichchancellor Adolf Hitler, Reichspresident Paul von Hindenburg, and Prussian Ministerpresident Hermann Goering.
August 27th 1933. Tannenberg. East Prussia, Germany: A solemn celebration arranged by the German government took place at Tannenberg monument which was erected in memorial to the famoous battle by which East Prussia was liberated from the Russians during the world war by Hindenburg. Hitler’s this visit was the occasion for a great patriotic gathering. On January 30th 1933 when Hindenburg, hero of a World War, called Adolf Hitler, villain of the next one, to be German Chancellor, and the monument acquired greater importance after Hitler came to power in Germany as a symbol of the glory of the German Armed Forces. When Hindenburg died, the monument was made a mausoleum for him against the Field Marshal’s wishes.