The Nazi Plan-Film and evidence

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The lead U.S. prosecutor, and the driving force behind the organization of the Trial, was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.  During preparation for the trial, Jackson made the bold and historic decision to use film and photo evidence to convict the Nazis. But these films had to be found..

Jackson knew that it was important to use Nazi shot footage as no one could claim that the footage had been prejudiced against the Nazis by what was shown since it was shot by the Nazis themselves.

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A special OSS film team — OSS Field Photographic Branch/War Crimes — was formed for this purpose. Brothers Budd and Stuart Schulberg, sons of the former Paramount studio chief B.P. Schulberg, were assigned to this special OSS search team that was dispatched to Europe. Budd was a Navy Lieutenant, and his younger brother Stuart, a Marine Corps Sergeant.

Stuart Schulberg and another office from the film unit, Daniel Fuchs (later a well-known author), were sent first, in June 1945.  Budd Schulberg, along with OSS film editors Robert Parrish and Joseph Zigman, followed in September 1945.

The search for incriminating film was conducted under enormous time pressure, and they encountered sabotage along the way.  They found two caches of film still burning, as though their guardians had been tipped off, and began to suspect leaks from their German informants, two SS film editors.

Just in time for the start of the trial, they found significant evidence, which, in close collaboration with Jackson’s staff of lawyers, they edited into a 4-hour film for the courtroom called The Nazi Plan.

In the course of this work, Budd Schulberg apprehended Leni Riefenstahl at her country home in Kitzbühl, Austria, as a material witness, and took her to the Nuremberg editing room, so she could help Budd identify Nazi figures in her films and in other German film material his unit had captured.

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Stuart Schulberg took possession of the photo archive of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, and became the film unit’s expert on still photo evidence. Most of the stills presented at the trial carry his affidavit of authenticity.

George Stevens was brought in to put it all together, with the help of Schulberg and principal editor Robert Parrish. The footage was extensive and the version finally edited together for Nuremberg was almost two hours longer than the version released to the public later. The complete documentary, with narration written by Schulberg, was presented as evidence on December 13, 1945, and helped in the effort to convict Nazi war criminals.

The Nazi Plan isn’t an easy watch, as it deals with the unblinking truth about the Nazis, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Few directors and writers in Hollywood, much less any film industry, can claim they played a vital role in the conviction of Nazi war criminals from World War II. Writer Budd Schulberg and director George Stevens could but, to their credit, never made much of a big deal about it. They did their part and weren’t looking for any reward or any long lasting fame as war heroes. But they were, and their work helped bring some of the worst figures in world history to justice.

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The Dark side of Carnaval

Alaaf und Heil Hitler

The date 11 November  as a great number of special meaning for example the armistice of WWI was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour.Add 11 after the 11th hour and you get a different meaning.

I don’t know exactly what the origin is but the date 11 11 at 11:11 am  is also known as the fool’s date, throughout a great number of countries but mainly in western Europe it triggers the start of the preparations forthe Carnaval(aka Carnival) season.

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Carnaval is traditionally a Catholic  festival that takes place the 3 days before lent,the actual word translates into fall of meat. It signifies 3 days of indulgence of food and drink before people fast for 40 days until Easter. It starts on a Sunday and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.This is traced back to biblical times where Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and then was tempted by the Devil .”Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

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In modern days it really has become a feast of indulgence and not only a Catholic festival anymore, the most famous Carnaval is the Rio de Janeiro one.

A pivotal part of the festival is the parades or the floats on the Monday of the festival. The floats are mostly portray current affairs and have a satirical and political nature.

During the Nazi regime the festival became more sinister and darker. The floats ,which are really meant to be funny and make people think and laugh, were turned into a propaganda tool

The floats were used to manifeats expressions of anti-Semitism marking the German Carnival season during the years leading up to World War II.

Anti-Semitic floats, like this one from Cologne Carnival in 1934, were common. The banner reads: “The Last Ones Are Leaving.”

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This float from Cologne’s Rose Monday parade in 1936 depicts the Jews losing their rights under the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935.

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The carnival was used as a propaganda tool to highlight the values of the German nation. Here Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (right) can be seen enjoying the Munich carnival, known as Fasching, in 1935.

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A 1935 design for a float with depictions of people who have fled Germany, with the motto: “Refugees, Under the Roofs of Paris.”

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Kraft durch Freude-Strength through Joy, the Nazi organization responsible for leisure activities, hosted an event in Cologne in 1935. However, Cologne Carnival organizers managed to keep control of the festivities.

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The Nazis saw that the tradition of Carnival could be used to portray their notions of the German Volk or nation. Yet its anarchic fun and potential to mock those in power was something they sought to strictly control. Right from the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, there were orders not to mention Hitler during the festivities.

Yet there were some rare instances of defiance. For example, one Carnival group in Frankfurt dared to print posters in a newspaper depicting the Führer as a Carnival jester. A team of Nazis was immediately sent out to destroy the club’s float and arrest the editors, who spent three weeks in prison.

This image from the magazine Kladderadatsch shows the Führer accompanying Germania to a Fastnacht ball.

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The famous Cologne Carnival speaker Karl Küppnerkk also fell foul of the authorities after making one too many jokes about the Nazis. During one speech, he stuck out his hand to do the Hitler salute and quipped: “Looks like rain.” Küppner ended up in jail and was barred from making any more speeches.

And the president of Düsseldorf’s Carnival committee, Leo Statz, paid the ultimate price for his irreverence. He had repeatedly annoyed the Nazis with his satirical Carnival songs and in 1943, after drunkenly questioning whether Germany could win the war, he was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually executed.

Nevertheless, these were the exceptions. On the whole there was a large degree of compliance with the regime. There were jokes in almost every Carnival speech about Jews as well as other enemies, such as the French or Russians. Many of the floats mocked the League of Nations, and favourite hate figures were American politicians, such as New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish.

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For the regime, Carnival was a useful propaganda tool to the outside world. There were repeated references to the jobs created and the boost to the economy. The Nazis launched an advertising campaign to attract foreign tourists and to show the country in a favorable light and to show the “peaceful Germans, who didn’t want war, but just wanted to have fun,”

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Advertising and Propaganda WWII Style

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One of the most powerful weapons during WWII and indeed any other war was propaganda. It was however not only the governments that used propaganda, private also used propaganda, albeit in a more subliminal manner, in their advertising campaigns.

Some of these ads would put 21st century advertisers to shame. following are some examples of the ads allied style.

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Santa Claus Has Gone to War!” World War II propaganda (1942)

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Have a coke and a smile even at war

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“This is no time to be FRAIL! Bread is basic” – Fleishmann’s Yeast ad in ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, December 1942

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World War II Comics and Cartoons

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I am not a great fan of comics although I did read them when I was younger, but they don’t really interest me that much anymore.

However I can see the value of them and why they were popular even during war. Or maybe I should say especially during war, Because it was the perfect tool for escapism. It was cheap and more important easy to carry with you. Of course a lot of the comics would be oozing with propaganda.

Cartoons have often been use in a satirical way and have caused many controversies, as a matter of fact they still do. But the propaganda value of this was priceless

Below are just a few examples of WWII Comic books and cartoons.

Uncle Sam is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Based on the national personification of the United States, Uncle Sam, the character first appeared in National Comics #1 (July, 1940) and was created by Will Eisner

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Classics Illustrated Special Issue Comic #166a – World War II.

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Daredevil

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Batman & Robin

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Willie and Joe Cartoons drawn by Bill Maudlin

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William Henry “Bill” Mauldin (October 29, 1921 – January 22, 2003) was an American editorial cartoonist who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He was most famous for his World War II cartoons depicting American soldiers, as represented by the archetypal characters Willie and Joe, two weary and bedraggled infantry troopers who stoically endure the difficulties and dangers of duty in the field. His cartoons were popular with soldiers throughout Europe, and with civilians in the United States as well.

One of the most iconic “Willy and Joe” cartoons of WWII, drawn by Bill Maudlin

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David Low

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Sir David Alexander Cecil Low (7 April 1891 – 19 September 1963) was a New Zealand political cartoonist and caricaturist who lived and worked in the United Kingdom for many years. Low was a self-taught cartoonist. Born in New Zealand, he worked in his native country before migrating to Sydney in 1911, and ultimately to London (1919), where he made his career and earned fame for his Colonel Blimp depictions and his merciless satirising of the personalities and policies of German dictator Adolf Hitler, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, and other leaders of his times.

Rendezvous, 20 September 1939.

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Nazi Propaganda-Part 2

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One of the ways how the Nazis were able to include regular citizens in their web of evil and deceit was by propaganda. Regardless what you think of them, they were masters of propaganda, it enabled them to brainwash the ordinary citizenry. That combined with promising and delivering employment and some level of prosperity is a powerful weapon.

In fact it probably was their most powerful weapon because it allowed them to get away with awful crimes and atrocities.

Here are just some of the propaganda slogans and posters used during the Nazi era.To be honest some of them look very similar to motivational posters which are used nowadays.

The text: “National Socialism is the guarantee of victory.” This poster was released in fall 1939.

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A quotation from Clausewitz: “The time is yours. What happens with it depends on you.” ( September 1940)

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A common Nazi slogan : “The Führer is always right .” (February 1941)

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A quotation from Hermann Göring: “To help to defend and finish the Führer’s enormous work is the happiest task and highest duty of all Germans” (May 1941)

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This quotation from Hitler’s 30 January 1939 speech promises the destruction of the Jews. It appeared in September 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, and during the opening stages of the Holocaust. The translation: “If International Finance Jewry should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, the result will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.

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This one encourages motherhood. The translation is: “Work is an honor for the woman as is it for the man, but a child ennobles the mother.” ( December 1942)

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A quotation from Joseph Goebbels: “Only composure and a heart of bronze bring victory.” (January 1943)

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This July 1932 election poster shows the German worker, enlightened through National Socialism, towering over his opponents. It reads “We Workers Have Awakened. We’re Voting National Socialist”

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Leni Riefenstahl-Documenting evil

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The story of  Leni Riefenstahl has always intrigued me. Although she was a willing and pivotal tool in the Nazi propaganda machine. She did witness crimes and evil but was yet somehow able to distance herself from it.

Leni Riefenstahl (Helene Riefenstahl) was a German dancer, actress, and film director best known for her imposing propaganda films in support of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party.

By her own account, the advent of World War II and the rapid escalation of violence under the Nazi regime had an unfavorable effect on both Riefenstahl and her career. Early in the Polish campaign, an incident seemed to have shaken Riefenstahl’s confidence in the movement she had glorified in cinematic images. While accompanying German troops near Konskie, the filmmaker witnessed the execution of Polish civilians shot in retaliation for a partisan attack on German troops. Riefenstahl apparently left her filming that day in order to make a personal appeal to Hitler against such arbitrary violence. The incident may have planted a seed of doubt in Riefenstahl’s mind, but it did not prevent her from filming Hitler’s triumphal parade into Warsaw just weeks later.

Polen, Truppenbesuch von Leni Riefenstahl

However another side to this story is that she had been filming Nazi rallies since the early 1930’s. Like the 1935 film Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens). It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. This film had a global release, it should have been a warning to the world what the Nazi’s were up to, but it was ignored.

Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag, Marsch der Wehrmacht

 

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After the war Riefenstahl attempted to separate herself from the criminal nature of the Nazi regime, suggesting her duty was to her craft and not necessarily to the Nazi authorities who commissioned her films.

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In the postwar years, Leni Riefenstahl was the subject of four denazification proceedings, which finally declared her a Nazi sympathizer (Mitläufer). Although never a member of the Nazi Party, Riefenstahl found it difficult to overcome her association with the propaganda films she had made during the early Nazi period, and encountered difficulties in regaining her position in the German cinematic community. Her experience was quite unlike that of her colleague Veit Harlan, who had directed such seminal Nazi propaganda works as Jüd Süss and Kolberg, but who returned to a flourishing directorial career in the 1950s. Riefenstahl turned to still photography, publishing in the 1970s an illustrated volume on the primitive Nuba tribe of the Sudan; in her late seventies, she undertook a new interest in underwater cinematography.

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Sex Sells- Even in WWII

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Don’t worry I haven’t  changed my History blog into a WWII porn site. Because we live in a PC world I had to include a warning.

It is said that the the average men thinks about sex every 7 seconds. Put that in a war context ,with testosterone bouncing left,right and center in men who haven’t seen their girlfriends,wives or any member of the opposite sex  in weeks possibly months and longer , the notion of using Sex as a weapon would have been powerful.

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It is no wonder that Sex was used as a propaganda tool, not only to distract but also to warn for all sorts of venereal diseases, and careless pillow talk which could get vital information in the wrong hands.

This blog has some examples of Sex propaganda from the allies and axis powers.

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During World War II there were many different forms of propaganda to support the war effort in Japan. Sometimes the Japanese used sexual images in order to influence Allied soldiers to pick up surrender leaflets. The leaflet below depicts a bare-breasted female in an inviting pose. The bearer of the present ticket is considered as “willing to surrender to the Japanese army”. The Japanese army will charge itself with ensuring his life in condition that he shows this ticket to Japanese soldiers, with a white flag or raised arms, carrying his rifle stock upwards.

The Japanese propaganda used against the Allied forces aimed to draw their attention away from the war effort and influence them to surrender or go home. Most of the tactics used in this kind of propaganda were sexual and depicted nude women. Sometimes pictures of nude women were placed on tickets of armistice so as to try to get enemy soldiers to pick them up. Moreover the nude gave the soldier an excuse to retain possession the ticket: “It’s not a surrender ticket, it’s a nudie picture”. Then, the reasoning would be that, in a moment of high duress, he might be more likely to break down knowing he could just use the ticket to surrender. Other times, though, it was just to make the men remember the women they had left at home and hopefully get them thinking about sex and make them want to go home again.

The Japanese text on the leaflet translated to English:

Surrender ticket
The bearer(s) of this ticker has surrendered.
It is strictly forbidden to kill him (them).
Commander, Japanese Army forces

Lieutenant Colonel Mahmood Kan Durrani who was an Australian prisoner of the Japanese quotes a lecture given by a Japanese officer on how leaflets should be prepared. One of his six recommendations was:

“The leaflet should have, if possible, the picture of a beautiful woman, after the method used by the Germans in the First World War. This device would ensure that the soldier would be attracted and would be unable to resist looking at the picture over and over again. This would rouse his passion, and his heart would be inclined for love and to hate fighting.”

Ticket to Armistice - Japanese leaflet dropped on Allied troops, 1942

The aim of these posters was to create the illusion that while the British soldiers fight and die, the Americans enjoy the company of their women in England..

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Fake news WWII style

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Between 1941 and 1943, an exceedingly peculiar series of transmissions reached radio sets in Germany. The broadcaster called himself Der Chef, or the chief, and his Berliner accent and prodigious knowledge of military affairs suggested he was a high-ranking German of the old guard, probably an army officer.

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A patriot and Hitler loyalist, Der Chef bemoaned the corruption enveloping Nazi headquarters while the war was being fought across Europe. He disclosed worrying news that injured German soldiers were receiving infusions of syphilis-tainted blood from captured Poles and Slavs, and gossiped about an Italian diplomat in Berlin who was bedding the wives of German officers. German civilians picking up the shortwave radio transmissions thought they were eavesdropping on the affairs of a secret military organ led by Der Chef.

“Had his listeners been able to take a peep at the surroundings in which his messages were, in fact, recorded,” the British journalist Sefton Delmer wrote years later, “our audience would, I am sure, have shrunk to zero.” Delmer knew of what he spoke: He had helped create Der Chef.

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Denis Sefton Delmer (24 May 1904 – 4 September 1979) was a British journalist of Australian heritage and propagandist for the British government. Fluent in German, he became friendly with Ernst Röhm who arranged for him to interview Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

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During WWII he led a black propaganda campaign against Hitler by radio from England, sufficiently successful he was named in the Nazis’ Black Book for immediate arrest after their invasion of England.

Although this was hardly the first instance of a wartime disinformation campaign, Delmer’s “Black Propaganda,” as he called it, shared plenty with today’s “fake news.” It was agitprop masquerading as inside dirt. To be sure, British intelligence agents played a role, but it was behind the scenes, unlike traditional government propaganda. By most accounts the broadcasts were insidiously effective: Hitler’s high command repeatedly attempted to block the signal.

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It turns out that Delmer, developed a fake news factory aimed at disrupting the Nazis. He introduced several other radio stations, including one anchored by a young German named “Vicki,” who read a mixture of real news culled from intelligence sources and fake items, including a fabricated report about an outbreak of diphtheria among German children.

Delmer had access to Aspidistra, a 500 kW radio transmitter obtained from RCA in the US (their largest off-the-shelf-model), which Section VIII bought for £165,000.

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Use of Aspidistra, which began in 1942, was split between PWE, the BBC, and the RAF. Delmer’s creation was Deutsche Kurzwellensender Atlantik (or popularly Atlantiksender).

Soldatensender Calais (“Calais Armed Forces Radio Station”) was another clandestine radio station directed at the German armed forces by Delmer. Based in Milton Bryan and transmitting from Crowborough, Soldatensender Calais broadcast a combination of popular music, “cover” support of the war, and “dirt” – items inserted to demoralize German forces.

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In November 1943, Delmer ended Der Chef’s reign of error by penning a script that had Nazi troops storming the studio and “shooting” him mid-broadcast, but many other ruses lived on. Beginning in May 1944, he produced a German-language newspaper called Nachrichten für die Truppe (News for the Troops), which was air-dropped to soldiers on the Western front.

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After the war, Delmer rejoined Britain’s Daily Express, revealing his earlier role as a source of fake news in a 1962 memoir.

The gradual dehumanizing by the Nazi regime.

A Jewish woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked Only for Jews, Austria, 1938

The Holocaust was a gradual process. The Nazis didn’t start mass extermination when they got into power. But gradually prepared the population by dehumanizing the Jewish people. Segregation, as shown in the photo above, was part of this. The point was not to provide a bench for Jews, it was to segregate the benches so that non-Jewish Germans would not have to sit on a “contaminated” bench. Being treated like below human life for years before hand was terrifying and probably emotionally exhausting.

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A boy sits on a bench in a public park. The words painted on the bench say, “For Aryans only.” By law, German and Austrian Jews were prohibited from using many public facilities except those marked “For Jews only.” In some cities, Jews were not allowed in public parks, swimming pools, or movie theaters. Jews were allowed to shop in stores only during designated hours, usually late in the day when stores had run out of fresh foods.

After Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933, the school curriculum changed.Jewish children in German schools suffered terribly from bullying.

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Biology, along with political education, became compulsory. Children learnt about “worthy” and “unworthy” races, about breeding and hereditary disease. They measured their heads with tape measures, checked the colour of their eyes and texture of their hair against charts of Aryan or Nordic types, and constructed their own family trees to establish their biological, not historical, ancestry…. They also expanded on the racial inferiority of the Jews.

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The Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, claimed that the idea that  teaching history should be objective was a fallacy of liberalism.  The purpose of history was to teach people that life was always dominated by struggle, that race and blood were central to everything that happened in the past, present and future, and that leadership determined the fate of peoples. Central themes in the new teaching including courage in battle, sacrifice for a greater cause, boundless admiration for the Leader and hatred of Germany’s enemies, the Jews.

In 1933 all Jewish teachers were dismissed from German schools and universities. At this time 12 per cent of all German professors were Jews. During the same year the proportion of Jewish students at universities was reduced to less than 1 per cent, to correspond to the proportion of Jews in Germany.

Exploiting pre-existing images and stereotypes, Nazi propagandists portrayed Jews as an “alien race” that fed off the host nation, poisoned its culture, seized its economy, and enslaved its workers and farmers.

Propaganda slide depicting Jews as the bastard sons of Asian and negroid racial groups

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All school textbooks were withdrawn before new ones were published that reflected the Nazi ideology. Additional teaching materials were issued by Nazi teachers’ organizations in different parts of the country. A directive issued in January 1934 made it compulsory for schools to educate their pupils “in the spirit of National Socialism”

Illustration from a German textbook. The child is saying
“The Jewish nose is bent. It looks like the number six” (1938)

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It has been estimated that by 1936 over 32 per cent of teachers were members of the Nazi Party. This was a much higher figure than for other professions. Teachers who were members, wore their uniforms in the classroom. The teacher would enter the classroom and welcome the group with a ‘Hitler salute’, shouting “Heil Hitler!” Students would have to respond in the same manner. It has been claimed that before Adolf Hitler took power a large proportion pf teachers were members of the German Social Democratic Party. One of the jokes that circulated in Germany during this period referred to this fact: “What is the shortest measurable unit of time? The time it takes a grade-school teacher to change his political allegiance.

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By 1934, all Jewish shops were marked with the yellow Star of David or had the word “Juden” written on the window.

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The eyes have it-Expression of hate.

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Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was cheerful and without a care when he first met photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. In a close-up image the Third Reich politician was caught off guard smiling at the League of Nations meeting in Geneva in September 1933.

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Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898–1995), the man behind some of the most memorable pictures of the 20th century, was a professional photographer for almost 70 years. He started working in photography in Weimar Germany in the 1920s. Having fled Nazi Germany in the mid-’30s, he shot for LIFE magazine from its debut in 1936 until it ceased publishing as a weekly in 1972.

After LIFE was shuttered, Eisenstaedt kept photographing until the mid-1990s.

When Goebbels found out LIFE magazine photographer Eisenstaedt was Jewish his expression was quite different.

Subsequently, when Eisenstaedt approached Goebbels for a candid portrait, the politician’s expression was very, very different. Instead of smiling, he scowled for the camera, and the famous photo that resulted shows the man wearing “eyes of hate”. His tense posture transmits an almost palpable enmity.

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A quote from Joseph Goebbels diary showing his hatred toward Jews: “The Jews are now being deported to the east. A fairly barbaric procedure, not to be described in any greater detail, is being used here, and not much more remains of the Jews themselves. In general, it can probably be established that 60 percent of them must be liquidated, while only 40 percent can be put to work […] A judgment is being carried out on the Jews which is barbaric, but fully deserved”

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