Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter recently stumbled across a very rare Leica IIIc Red Curtain Rangefinder — rare because it comes complete with Nazi engravings on it. And though these Nazi symbols were not placed on the camera by Leica themselves — the company actually helped Jews flee Nazi Germany during the Holocaust — it’s still a fascinating camera find. Read more…
In the past, we’ve shared several online archives that give you access to a huge number of historical and historically significant photos online.
PhotosNormandie offered up 3,000+ CC photos from WWII, the NYC Department of Records compiled a database of over 870,000 photos of “the greatest city on earth,” and now the Finnish Defense Forces have put up an online archive of their own, showcasing almost 160,000 wartime photos from Finland during WWII. Read more…
In September 1933, LIFE magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt traveled to Geneva to document a meeting of the League of Nations. One of the political figures at the gathering was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, one of Hitlers most devout underlings and a man who became known for his “homicidal anti-Semitism.”
Eisenstaedt was a German-born Jew. Not knowing this at first, Goebbels was initially friendly toward Eisenstaedt, who was able to capture a number of photos showing the Nazi politician in a good and cheerful mood (as in the photograph above).
Earlier this week the New York Times was lent a mysterious photo album that contained 214 photos of Nazi Germany, including images taken just feet away from Hitler. There was no indication of who the photographer was, so the Lens blog decided to publish some of the photos and crowdsource the task of solving the mystery.
Last week we briefly wrote on how Leica played a role in saving Jews by helping them flee Nazi Germany. Turns out the effort was called the Leica Freedom Train, and this short 3-minute documentary tells the story in a bit more detail. An interesting fact is that each Leica refugee was given a Leica camera as a symbol of freedom.
Leica Freedom Train (via Leica Rumors)
Did you know that Leica boss Ernst Leitz II is considered the “photographic industry equivalent of Oskar Schindler” for helping Jews flee Nazi Germany?
Leitz [...] helped Jews find jobs outside Germany, securing immigration visas and paying the travel expenses of refugees bound for the United States. [...] They fled Germany under the guise of Leitz employees, until they could find work overseas. Such was the Nazi reliance on Leica optics for military purposes, that officials largely turned a blind eye to Leitz’s activities.
He’s credited saving the lives of around 80 Jews while risking his life in the process.
Leica helped Jews flee Nazis: Fresh evidence uncovered [Amateur Photographer]
Image credit: Schindler’s grave by See The Holy Land