70-Year-Old WWII Foxhole Photos Turn Out to Be a Hoax


Last week, we and many others ran the story of a rather astounding collection of photographs that were supposedly discovered in a foxhole where the infamous Battle of the Bulge took place.

Allegedly found by U.S. Navy Captain Mark Anderson and accompanying historian Jean Muller, the story goes that the duo found then scanned the images in an old camera, presenting them to the world seventy years after they were captured and left behind by a soldier who had been KIA. But that, it seems, is not the truth.

A few days after posting the article, our Editor-in-Chief began receiving emails from concerned readers notifying us that the story was fabricated and that they had seen these photos before. Unable to confirm anything at the time, we kept our eye on it, reaching out to a number of people in regards to the situation.


It wasn’t until today that the truth became 100% clear when reader Lex Schmidt sent us a link to a comment he had left on a motorcycle forum thread in which he confirmed that these were not photographs found in a foxhole.

In fact, they are from the US Wartime Archives and have even made their way into the appropriately titled book Images of War: Battle of the Bulge.

It’s both crushing and embarrassing that we were pulled into the hoax along with so many other publications. In the high-speed world of online news where, as C. H. Spurgeon put it, “a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on,” we continuously strive to be part of the solution, not the problem.

And so we hope you’ll accept our apology for helping to spread what turned out to be a lie, and if you have any more sources or information on these images, please share it in the comments below so we can update this article appropriately.

Image credits: Book Scan by Lex Schmidt

  • MickO

    “A few examples of quotes Mark Twain DID NOT say:”

    Sorry to pile on, PetaPixel. :-) Still love ya.

  • Genkakuzai

    Oh snap.

  • Colin Peddle

    “I did not say that” – Mark Twain

  • Gannon Burgett

    - Michael Scott

  • Roberto Inetti

    “last week, we and many others ran the story”… without checking facts

  • Jampy Joe

    “Use the force, Harry” – Gandalf

  • DLCade

    The irony is killing me. Thank you for pointing that out, it’s been fixed.

  • lexplex

    Good that you owned up to it and made a big deal out of apologising. Many other publications would just quietly pull the story and pretend they’re still perfect. So kudos, PetaPixel. It happens to all of us at some point.

  • Steven

    It is a shame that hoaxers get a kick out of their deceit of others. Awesome that PetalPixel runs a follow up to this story that they were indeed duped. I do wish more of the “Mainstream Media” would run apologies when their zeal for headlines and first to press often is later found to be nothing more fabrications and innuendos. Sadly due diligence slips on the media side as the consumer grow less concerned about factual reporting and more interested in the sensationalism.

  • MEEfO

    I love how many times they made a point in this “apology” to point out that other publications ran with the hoax as well. If you truly want to be a part of the solution, PetaPixel, then just accept responsibility for your shoddy journalism and your internal policy to publish whatever will drive clicks, or don’t say anything at all.

  • guido

    “Never blindly trust anything you read on internet under my name”

    – Mark Twain

  • Mako

    My first thoughts were there was no way that film would have survived those exterior conditions

  • TongBlack

    Quoting Spurgeon is awesome (even if you thought Mark Twain said it)

  • Korios

    We accept it, $hit happens.

  • Jeremiah True

    Seems to be a trend these days.

  • belaglik

    “Neither did I” – Morgan Freeman quoting Albert Einstein

  • belaglik

    So what is the deal with Anderson and Muller? Are they the generators of this hoax or did someone else use their names to make the story sound credible? I do not want to think ill of these people if they don’t deserve it.

  • Leonidas Trebuchet

    They apologize, and want to bee part of the solution. I want to know what their plan is to be part of the solution. Will they try to verify sources in the future, or is the plan simply to apologize again next time it happens?
    The first step to a solution is a plan.
    PetaPixel, if you are genuine, please share your plan with us.

  • Werchange

    Kudos to Lex Schmidt.
    Petapixel-70 year old pictures. No alarm bells went off for anyone in your office upon seeing these images?
    What? No skeptical curmudgeon with a raised eyebrow was there to caution the young lions in the office that perhaps all may not be what it seems? If you suspected something was amiss-what would waiting a day or two for confirmation have hurt?
    Luckily for you-you’re not journalists-we don’t have to hold you to that higher standard that they have to work under-speed and accuracy. I’d rather read an accurate story from you than one posted in haste.
    Most of the time I enjoy reading Petapixel articles about photography-they’re informative, interesting and if there’s a clanger in the story-people posting in the comments section are quick to point them out.

  • dorarcheek

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    monday I got a gorgeous Peugeot 205 GTi after having earned $6860 this past 4
    weeks an would you believe ten-k this past-month . with-out a doubt this is the
    easiest-job I’ve ever had . I actually started six months/ago and pretty much
    immediately started to bring in minimum $84… p/h . Read More Here F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • Colin Peddle

    That’s what He said.

  • hdc77494

    What I can’t understand, is why. Why go to the trouble to create an elaborate fabrication so easily dis-proven. What a waste of time.

  • belaglik

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Starland sound

    Does it make the millions tortured and brutally murdered any less dead?