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Eye on the Reich : German propaganda photographs, 1939-1942

Collection Data

Attributed to the studio of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler's personal photographer, these photographs were originally published annually in volumes titled Grossdeutschland im Weltgeschehen, Tagesbildberichte and focus on events in German history from 1939-1942. These large-format books featured space for four photos per page with captions printed underneath. An incomplete set of these photographs was found among the Picture Collection's holdings with photos and descriptions in two rubber-banded stacks, the images having been peeled from the pages and their captions cut out separately. A system of numbers had been assigned to matching pairs of picture and text, with the presumed idea of mounting them together as individual items. Picture Collection staff had to match the texts to the items they described, transcribe the old style German "Fraktur" text and finally translate the German into English. The resulting collection shows Nazi Germany as it wanted the world (and its own people) to see it: victorious soldiers with mighty weapons, stoic civilians gladly helping the war cause, "atrocities" committed by the dastardly foe, the Fuhrer engaged in military, diplomatic and domestic affairs (aided by senior Nazi and Axis officials) and, most importantly, everyday life under the Third Reich. The photo captions are of equal value to the illustrations, as they give the official "party line" interpretation of the events depicted. In keeping with the purpose of commemorating victory, the collection does not include scenes of hardship on the home front, defeats on the battlefield, or the persecution and murder of Jews, Slavs and others. By the end of 1942, with more bad news than good coming from the fronts, the albums that comprise the collection ceased to be issued.
Hoffmann, Heinrich, 1885-1957 (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1939 - 1942
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection
Shelf locator: PC EYE
Nazi propaganda
Nazi propaganda -- Germany (East)
Nazi propaganda -- Germany (West)
Nazi propaganda -- Europe -- 1939-1942
Physical Description
Gelatin silver prints
Type of Resource
Still image
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 70485490-c601-012f-e8fb-58d385a7bc34
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