Central Europe In Ruins: More World War II Photographs Received By The Archives

Monday, November 9, 2015
Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście near the Church of the Holy Cross, circa September 1944

Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście near the Church of the Holy Cross, circa September 1944
Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście near the Church of the Holy Cross, circa September 1944

The Hoover Archives has received 208 original black-and-white photographs taken between 1943 and 1945 in Germany and the occupied territories. The photos are a gift from History San Jose (HSJ), Silicon Valley’s largest and most comprehensive historical organization, which acquired them along with the papers of the late John H. Drieger.  Because they were deemed out of HSJ’s collecting scope, it donated them to Hoover.

Drieger, who served in an Army Air Force construction battalion in Europe, acquired the photographs at the end of the war.  They may have been used for propaganda, as most of them show damage from Allied raids; and those that are identified in German refer to American and English “terrorism” and “barbarism.”  A notable exception, one without a caption, is obviously from Warsaw during or shortly after the anti-Nazi uprising (August through September 1944), where all the damage was caused by German Luftwaffe, artillery, tanks and flamethrowers, and was accompanied by a slaughter of nearly two hundred thousand people.  That photo may have been added for good measure, as more evidence of inhumane treatment of civilian targets by the Allies.   All the photographs are part of the documentary record of the horrors of twentieth-century total warfare suffered by the people of Central Europe.

The Drieger photographs will add significantly to the already very large Hoover Archives’ World War II Pictorial Collection.   

Maciej Siekierski, Siekierski [at] stanford.edu

 

 

Münster, Gutenbergplatz, and the Church of St. Lambert, October 1944
Münster, Gutenbergplatz, and the Church of St. Lambert, October 1944

 Searching for survivors, Berlin, November 1943
Searching for survivors, Berlin, November 1943