Rare and Unseen Photos of Hitler and Nazi Rallies Released, Digitized From Glass Negatives

Rare and Unseen Photos of Hitler and Nazi Rallies Released, Digitized From Glass Negatives

The National Archive has digitized, restored, and released 1,270 photos of Adolf Hitler, originally taken by his personal photographer, Henrich Hoffmann. Most have never been seen before, and range from studio portraits to Nazi rallies.

Created from a trove of 41,000 glass negatives, many of which were broken and had to be reassembled, the process has been overseen Richard E. Schneider. The project took around nine months to complete.

What makes this digitization project special is that the ensuing image has been reproduced from the original negative, rather than it being a copy or copy of a copy. This results in unmatched quality […] Anytime I came across a picture of [Hitler] looking at me, it sent shivers.

The photos, taken by Hoffmann, helped to shape the public’s perception of Hitler, often portraying him as a hero that was adored by millions of Germans. Many are carefully curated, with heavy manipulated angles and staging. An established photographer when he joined the Nazis in 1920, Hoffmann spent years documenting Hitler, with his negatives being confiscated by the army in 1962. This, so says supervisory archivist Billy Wade, is how they ended up with the National Archives.

Wade also revealed the images will soon be available for viewing online.

All images courtesy National Archives.

Log in or register to post comments

20 Comments

Rob Davis's picture

The Nazi’s were masters of making evil seem desirable. All of the carefully staged photos, the fashion, and overall aesthetic allure with the ancient symbolism. It’s must be the biggest insult to God when creativity is used for destruction.

Paul Asselin's picture

From a historical perspective these are important images. My fear is the neo-nazi nut bars of the world will again have something new to feed their twisted minds.

Rob Davis's picture

I had the exact same thought. I suppose they’re going to be twisted no matter what though.

Well, when they can't get a hold of legitimate material they tend to just make shit up anyway so there is not much to be done there.

It amazes me that there seems to be an endless supply of "new" Nazi stuff.

There are records that haven't been released yet, and some that may never be released. Some things are released from time to time. Many are regarded as being too sensitive even today for a variety of reasons. Some to do with information that the Western Allies don't want the Russians to know about, some that are regarded as military secrets that are still relevant today, and some, like the records that relate to Rudolf Hess that may never be released.

Jon G's picture

These are historically important images worthy of restoration. Just poor timing.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

I couldn't help myself giggling at that super staged photo with all the people staring at Hitler.

None of it was staged, the German people loved him, most of them.

Back then there wasn't any TV or internet, this was a thing to do, go see someone famous, anytime someone famous came to town there would be large groups waiting to see..

Of course it was staged, look at it.

Spy Black's picture

"...with his negatives being confiscated by the army in 1962."

I'm curious how exactly the man's personal property gets confiscated almost 20 years after the fact.

The hunting prosecution of nazi war criminals went on for a while after the war ended.

There was a guy found in NY and deported not too long ago

Spy Black's picture

Yeah but I'm not sure he was being hunted.

There is no statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes. They can be prosecuted at any time. The only limit is them dying. A 90 year was prosecuted in Germany in the last 10 years. Most of them will be dead now. However, in 1962, the war had only recently ended (17 years) so it would have been very fresh.

It really wasn't like Hoffman was just a regular guy taking random photos, he was Hitler's personal photographer. Probably paid by the government.

Spy Black's picture

Yeah but so what? He's essentially a staff photographer assigned to Hitler. Why is he being held accountable for Nazi war crimes? That's like photographing a wedding and the feds bust it because you wound up shooting a mob wedding, and you're rounded up with them and held accountable for their crimes.

If the feds raid a wedding that you are shooting there is a 100% chance they will confiscate your images as evidence. You will probably get them back (as HH did)

According to Wiki - After Hitler had taken control of the party in 1921, he named Hoffmann his official photographer, a post he held for over a quarter-century. He received royalties from all uses of Hitler's image, even on postage stamps, which made him a millionaire over the course of Hitler's reign. After the Second World War he was tried and sentenced to four years in prison for war profiteering.

Spy Black's picture

That was a convenient charge to nail this guy. He got off light I suppose. At least he got hiscwork back.

EL PIC's picture

Up to 41,000 negs and we see 5 ..
That’s Cherry 🍒 Picking !!

Royan Descartes's picture

can you imagine if one black man or woman stood in that room with that motherfucker called Hitler? Poor Hitler would have lost it.

"arbeit macht frei" this demon of a man, my god. I learned about the Holocaust only this year. the photos I have seen of scores of dead bodies have scarred me for life.