Hugo Jaeger—Documenting Ghetto Life


Hugo Jaeger was one of Hitler’s personal photographers who has been granted special access to the Third Reich and Hitler’s personal space. He is famous for being one of few photographers from that period who used colour photographs, which makes people assume that these photos have been “colourized” from black and white originals when in reality these are the originals.

Hugo Jaeger’s photographs normally celebrated the “glory and triumphalism” of the Third Reich. But in this set, he depicts the tragic circumstances of Jews. What his reasons were are not clear, was it compassion or just another bit of propaganda?

The pictures do tell a powerful  tale.

Despite the awfulness of her predicament, this Jewish woman manages to smile brightly for the camera as she poses for Jaeger.article-0-158DC232000005DC-165_964x1432

An elderly man with a yellow Star of David fixed to his chest, speaks with German officers as he and other Jews are being rounded up in Kutno, German-occupied Poland in 1939. The German officers appear to be sneering at him.

With their clean clothes and hair neatly coiffured, these three young women do not, at first glance, appear anything like Jaeger’s other subjects. But look closer and you find a star of David on the coat of the girl on the left


Ghetto boys in their tattered rags. The two boys smile for the camera, but the man in the centre, most probably their father, has a look of distrust etched across his face.article-0-15880210000005DC-376_964x643


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