Friday, December 24, 2010


Spotted these via acerbic and witty blogger Big Mental Disease.
LIFE magazine has released some photos from a Nazi Christmas party in Munich in 1941. They were taken by Hugo Jaeger and the one thing that struck me was the sense of despondency, not one person appears to be smiling.

In the words of LIFE:

"The image is chilling, bordering on surreal: On December 18, 1941, as World War II rages and countless innocents endure the horrors of the Third Reich's "final solution" -- killing operations at the Chełmno death camp, for instance, began less than two weeks before -- Adolf Hitler presides over a Christmas party in Munich. Stark, jarring swastika armbands offset the glint of ornaments and tinsel dangling from a giant Tannenbaum; festive candles illuminate the scene. Confronted with the image, the question naturally arises: How could Nazi leaders reconcile an ideology of hatred and conquest with the peaceful, joyous spirit of the Christian holiday -- much less its celebration of the Jewish-born Christ? Here, presents astonishing photos from this unsettling affair, and the equally remarkable story behind them."

"As for the religious views of Hitler himself, the evidence is conflicting: In public statements he sometimes praised Christianity (once calling it "the foundation of our national morality"), but in private conversations -- including one recalled by the Third Reich's official architect, Albert Speer -- the Führer is said to have abhorred the faith for what he deemed its "meekness and flabbiness." Hitler did, however, fervently worship one thing above all else: the Aryan race. And by the time Hugo Jaeger took the photos seen here, Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, commanding general of the SS, had articulated and launched their plan for creating a "master" race -- via, in large part, the extermination of Europe's Jews."

For the full set go to LIFE

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