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Famous Hitler rally picture probably faked
Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of William O. McWorkman

Famous Hitler rally picture probably faked

Published: 14 Oct 2010 16:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Oct 2010 16:05 GMT+02:00

A famous 1914 photo showing a young Adolf Hitler in the thick of the crowd at a First World War rally – which the Nazis later used as a propaganda picture – was probably faked, German media said Thursday.

Düsseldorf historian Gerd Krumeich has studied the picture and its history and concluded that Hitler was superimposed to lend credibility to the image of the Nazi leader as a patriot and a man of the people, daily Die Welt reported Thursday.

The photo was taken by Munich photographer Heinrich Hoffmann at a rally in support of war against the allies in Munich’s Odeonplatz on August 2, 1914.

But it was not until March 12, 1932 that it was published in the Nazi party newspaper the Illustrierte Beobachter, or "Illustrated Observer," the day before the presidential election, after Hitler’s opponents had attacked Hitler over his flight from military service in Austria-Hungary and questioned his patriotism.

The caption on the picture read: “Adolf Hitler, the German patriot … in the middle of the crowd stands with blazing eyes – Adolf Hitler.”

The photo went on to become a favourite Nazi propaganda picture, appearing with captions such as “Adolf Hitler: a man of the people.”

Hoffmann, who was one of the founders and the main supplier of pictures for the Nazi paper, always claimed he had discovered Hitler in the photo by chance after the future Führer visited his studio in 1929. Hitler had told him he was at the rally, Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann then dug out a glass picture negative he’d planned to throw away and found Hitler in the image.

“I only needed to search for a very short time, one standing there, yes, it’s him – his hair falls over the forehead,” Hoffmann once said. “His face cannot deceive – it is him.”

Until now, that version has been regarded as fact. The photo of the future Führer in Odeonplatz has been used countless times in newspapers, Hitler biographies and school books.

Most damningly, Krumeich found a different version of the picture in the Hoffmann photo archive in Bavaria. In that image, Hitler’s characteristic lock of hair over the forehead looks clearly different – suggesting the photo had been retouched.

The glass plate negative to the picture has never been found.

Krumeich has looked for other photos of the same rally both in archives and in newspapers and books. He noticed that other pictures of the event taken from different standpoints, including a picture taken by Hoffmann, do not show Hitler.

The picture is included in the new exhibition, “Hitler and the Germans – Nation and Crime,” which opens Friday. The caption on the picture mentions the doubts about its authenticity.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:25 October 14, 2010 by maxbrando
Perhaps the different photo recently discovered was touched up! It's all relative, anyway.
22:04 October 14, 2010 by wxman
I saw this photo the first time about 20 years ago, and thought the same thing at the time. Not that he wouldn't have attended such a rally, but seriously, what are the odds that he would end up in the picture?
00:40 October 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
It's completely irrelevant at this point. History has recorded what "a man of the people" he was. And he wasn't elected because of this photograph, doctored or otherwise.
08:33 October 15, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
Are they really just figuring this out? What are the odds that this photo would have a clear shot of Hitler? Anyone with half a brain could see it's a fake. He's about the only person in the crowd seemingly looking right at the camera!
09:47 October 15, 2010 by freechoice
what do you mean probably?

either it is fake or not, no such thing call probably...
10:05 October 15, 2010 by Da Goat
Yeah right they had photo shop before the war

If it is fake they have done a great job

it might be a fake Hitler
14:08 October 15, 2010 by StephenTTDuffy
Isnt it the Neo-Nazi who usually go round saying pictures (of the Holocaust) are fake? Is this some kind of a 'its our turn now' to destroy a documented historical reality, so as to discredit an already utterly discredited historical figure some more. But lets say, for the sake of arguement, that it was 'touched up'. So what! He still enlisted in the German army in 1914. He still won the Iron Cross (twice) while fighting on the western front. He still went on to destroy Europe as it was. It doesnt change anything.
17:29 October 15, 2010 by chuckfm
Well Freechoice seems to find "probably" too subjective? There's a lot to be said about "probably". But I must admit in the end it doesn't make much difference.

[On the theme "probably" I kindly invite any/everybody to my blog on just this theme

http://my.opera.com/chck/blog/2010/08/17/the-photographic-truth-alexander-gardner-vs-ansel-adams]

It was enough for the propaganda factory and the idea was too hard to resist. I do think the post from Stephen TDuffy is right on in it's assessment
18:04 October 15, 2010 by SteveFromBayShore
This theory is absolute garbage. At least 10 years ago actual film footage was found that shows a moving image of Hitler in the crowd the same day this photo was taken by Hoffmann. I have it on DVD somewhere, but YouTube has a low res clip of it and it shows Hitler standing right where he appears in the photo. Check it out. He was there. I wish fake "historians" would stop trying to change real history.

To see the clip go to YouTube and seach the term Rare Hitler Footage 1914
20:59 October 15, 2010 by wxman
The Soviets didn't need Photoshop to add or remove out-of-favor bureaucrats form photos to "adjust" history. Today, Photoshop makes the task much easier, but skilled technicians with a lot of patience and skill were effectively doing this several decades ago.
13:57 October 17, 2010 by wenddiver
So whats's the point??? I am willing to concede the point that Hitler was a German Natinalist, a German Militarist and probably thought starting a World War was a good thing. Actually, real news would be that he didn't attend the rally.
14:56 October 19, 2010 by anastasia2657
Is there anything that is NOT fake about Hitler? The Rauschling tapes of his private conversations which were used in thousands of books about Hitler were found 30 years later to be wholly fraudulent; his suicide has been shown to be unlikely (Russian archives contain an affidavit by a German doctor that he was killed from his wounds); his so-called "best-friend" he did not know at all. Is there anything that was reported that is true about Hitler? For goodness sake, we still see him on television every night. Yet, we know nothing about him, except this fake history that has been constructed.
10:26 October 30, 2010 by 1918Militaria
Some insight can be found at this thread,

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=467490&goto=newpost

And the best post from a guy who should know reads as follows...

Sorry Gents

I dont understand this post at all. They exists the original film footage of the event. It was discovered not long ago among some other period canned film from old achives. As mentioned it even shows still photographers taking pictures on the steps. All the film is in remarkable condition because it was never shown untill recently.

It was filmed outside the Feldhern Hall in Munich Aug2 1914.

They was a lot of filming done during the first weeks outside public buildings all over Europe where huge crowds would gather to hear latest announcements and see postings.

This latest story is news grabbing hogwash. imo

E
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