Published online by the New York Times on Tuesday, the album contains skilled shots by a talented wartime photographer with access to the top levels of the Nazi leadership.
Several pictures follow the Wehrmacht’s eastward march in 1941 known as Operation Barbarossa, which started 70 years ago this week.
Besides snapping pictures of Hitler from only a few feet away, the photographer took poignant photos of prisoners of war, captive Jews and average German soldiers.
The New York Times reported that it was loaned the album by a 72-year-old executive in the fashion industry who lives in New Jersey. The man wants to determine its origins in the hope of increasing its value to pay medical bills.
“I knew I had a part of history,” the executive told the newspaper, “and I was very troubled about it falling into the wrong hands. But my needs are great.”
The New York Times has shared the photos with German news weekly magazine Der Spiegel with the aim of uncovering the identity of the photographer and some of his subjects in the album.
Judith Cohen from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum told the paper the unknown photographer was almost certainly a member of the Propagandakompanie, which was the field unit of the German army’s propaganda corps.
“This album differs from most other albums in the quality of the photos,” Cohen said. “The photographer was clearly a professional and knew what he was doing. It is possible that it is a personal album of a PK photographer.”
Click the link below to see the pictures at the New York Times.