5th Winter Exhibition

"In the Enemy's Camera Lens"

German Press Photographers in Occupied Warsaw 1939 – 1945

An exhibition produced by the History Meeting House Warsaw in cooperation with the Polish Academy of the Sciences and the Herder Institute Marburg, the Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives) Koblenz and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation with the picture agency bpk and the Museum of European Cultures – National Museums in Berlin within the context of the federal program of of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Between October 22th, 2010 and May 1st, 2011 (in German and Polish)

Warsaw, 1939: A city full of life with 1.3 million inhabitants, among them about 350,000 Jews. With the attack of German troops on 1 September 1939, the face of the city started to change. Warsaw became a place of harassment, repressions and extermination. During the Second World War about 700,000 inhabitants lost their lives, among them almost the entire Jewish population. By 1945, Warsaw was reduced to an almost uninhabited wasteland.

The propagandistic view of Warsaw

Captured in the “Enemy's Camera Lens”, the exhibited photographs were made by propaganda companies of the Wehrmacht or the Waffen-SS between 1939 and 1945. They show the propagandistic view of the occupied city of Warsaw and its inhabitants through the lens of the German war photo journalists: the destruction wrought during the September Campaign, the suppression of the Jewish and non-Jewish population, daily life in the occupied city and in the Warsaw Ghetto until its destruction after the Ghetto Rising in April and May 1943, finally the Warsaw Rising (August – October 1944) and the destruction of the city between October 1944 and January 1945.

The photographs show the history of the city during the years of war and occupation in chronological-thematic order. While some of the photos, especially those made by Joe Heydecker, exhibit a degree of empathy with those being photographed, the majority of pictures mostly served Nazi propaganda purposes: They were made to justify Hitler's attack on Poland in September 1939 and were used by German mass media to describe Poland as the mortal enemy of the Third Reich.

The curators of the exhibition, Danuta Jackiewicz and Engeniusz Cezary Król, made their selection from among the pictures taken by propaganda companies of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS in Warsaw between 1939 and 1945. The photographs are currently held by the Bundesarchiv, which hold 1.1 million original negatives made by the propaganda companies of the Wehrmacht, and the picture agency bpk of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, which hold the respective press prints.

A historical commentary by the authors accompanies the displayed photos, which are also supplemented by additional documents from the Bundesarchiv.

With “In the Enemy's Camera Lens”, the Obersalzberg Documentation presents a bilingual touring exhibition (in German and Polish) for the first time. Financial support for the German-Polish cooperative research project was provided by the Stiftung für Deutsch-Polnische Zusammenarbeit (Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation), while the implementation of the touring exhibition implemented by the Herder Institute was financially supported by the Federal Program of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Most of the the chosen photographs are on public display in Germany for the first time. After being displayed in Warsaw, Berlin, Koblenz, Marburg, Dresden, Bautzen, Frankfurt/Oder and Vienna, the Obersalzberg Documentation is the ninth location to display the touring exhibition.

Download the flyer (in German)

4th Winter Exhibition

During the winter season 2009/ 2010

between October 9th, 2009 to April 11th, 2010,
the Obersalzberg Documentation will present the 4th Winter Exhibition:

From Sachsenburg to Sachsenhausen

Photos from a Concentration Camp Commander's Album
An Brandenburg Memorials Foundation / Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen exhibition
in German and English

The exhibition presents approximately 100 photos from the office album of the first commander of Sachsenhausen, Karl Otto Koch, which the Sachsenhausen Memorial located in the Archives of the Russian Secret Service. The album not only provides testimony for the construction phase of the Sachsenhausen camp from a perpetrator perspective, but also the development of the Concentration Camp system in Germany between 1933 and 1937. The album contains a total of 500 pictures made between the spring of 1933 and the summer of 1937 and show the career of the convinced and active National Socialist and SS Officer Koch – later Commander of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and the Lublin-Majdanek Extermination Camp – as an expert for the re-organisation and setting-up of a new Concentration Camp. The album was probably put together as a present for Koch's 40th birthday in 1937.

The pictures show Koch as the commander of the early Concentration Camps Hohnstein, Sachsenburg, Columbia and Esterwegen, which he organised according to the principle of total control over the prisoners developed in Dachau by his mentor, the “Inspector of the Concentration Camps” Theodor Eicke.

The setting-up of the model and training Concentration Camp of Sachsenhausen since the summer of 1937 marked an entirely new phase for the Concentration Camps; after serving as an instrument for the elimination of the domestic opposition, they were now also used for racial and social persecution, population policy and the preparation for war. Between September 1936 and July 1937, the number of prisoners rose from 900 to 3000 inmates. Within just a year they cleared approximately 80 hectares of forest and erected more than 100 buildings. Apart from the prisoner camp, the commander's office, the SS troops camp, an industrial complex and a number of housing estates for the families of SS officers were also set up.

The special exhibition is based on an exhibition first shown in Sachsenhausen in 2006. It presents the pictures in a unified format. The original photographs can be seen in a facsimile of the album, which the visitors can browse through.

Download the exhibition flyer (in German)

3rd Winter Exhibition

During the winter season 2008/2009 the Obersalzberg Documentation shows its third winter exhibition

between November 5th, 2008 and February 25th, 2009:

Freizeit im Faschismus (Free Time in Fascism) (in German)

State-Sponsored leisure time policy in National Socialist Germany, occupied Czechoslowakia and Fascist Italy.


Download the (German) leaflet

Press reports (in German) about the exhibitionzur Ausstellung

2nd Winter Exibition 2007 / 2008

The Reich Thanksgiving Festival on the Bückeberg near Hamlin 1933-1937.

A people thanks its Seducer

In the winter season 2007/08 between October 25th 2007 and March 30th 2008


in the new bunker exhibition room.




For further information, see the website of the exhibition curator, Gerhard Gelderblom (in German).


1st Winter Exhibition 2006 / 2007


"Roads to Annihilation"

The deportation of the Jews from Main-Franconia 1941 – 1943 in view of the files and the Gestapo Wuerzburg photo album.  


In the winter season 2006 / 2007

between October 13th, 2006 and April 15th, 2007,

Between 1941 and 1943, over 2000 Jews from Lower Franconia were deported and murdered. An exhibition by the State Archive Wuerzburg and the Institute for Contemporary History pays tribute to the victims of the deportations.
The central focus of the documentation is the Wuerzburg Gestapo photo album. While the Gestapo usually prohibited photographs of their actions, an exception occurred when a Gestapo official photographed three transports from Wuerzburg and Kitzingen, which took place in November 1941 as well as in March and April 1942. The pictures were subsequently arranged in a loose-leaf album and commented on. The 119 pictures form the largest known collection of deportation photographs from the Reich.

The existence of the album has been known for a long time, but it was misplaced for many years. After being re-discovered by coincidence, it is now being made available to the wider public for the first time in this exhibition by the State Archive Wuerzburg and the Institute for Contemporary History with support from the District of Lower Franconia.
The exhibition covers the life of the Jews of Main-Franconia before 1933 and during the Third Reich until 1941. Survivors of the deportations have provided many private photographs for this purpose. Photographs of the destinations of the deportations such as Riga, Izbica, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, the chain of command on the Reich level as well as the local reactions of the population are shown. The concluding section covers the judicial proceedings against the perpetrators and the local remembrance since 1945.
After being shown in a number of places throughout Germany, the exhibition will be shown to the public for the last time at the Obersalzberg Documentation.

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