Photo albums of German soldiers from the attack on Poland in 1939
Associated PhD project
Through the lenses of their cameras, the German soldiers marching into Poland on September 1, 1939, captured their perceptions of the war effort, a foreign land, the Christian and Jewish population of Poland as well as the military community. After the fighting ended, they arranged these photographic memories in photo albums. Through the social practice of placing prints in the albums, through creating their arrangements and their commentative captions, the authors gave the photographs an added level of significance - the albums became a narrative space for the subjective construction of memories of the war.
This PhD project puts the (soldier’s) photo album at the center of its investigation and examines the narrativity of this type of source. Individual images are analyzed using the serial iconographic method and evaluated by examining recurring motifs and photographic codes in order to draw conclusions about the mentality and ideological tendencies of the Wehrmacht soldiers. Selected photographs and albums are also evaluated as visual sources of historic as well as military events and placed in the larger context of the German attack on Poland.
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
E-Mail: svea.hammerle [at] zzf-potsdam.de