A mother shows a picture of her son to a returning prisoner of war, 1947.
These iconic photographs were taken in 1947 at Vienna’s Southern Railway Station, where photographer Ernst Haas witnessed the moving scenes of the return of the first 600 Austrian war prisoners from Eastern Europe. Haas’s images show the anticipation and grief of people searching for their lost relatives among the survivors. The magazine Heute, published in Munich by the Americans, first published the feature in August 1949. Only one week later, it was reprinted in the leading illustrated magazine of the time, the American Life, leading to Haas’ breakthrough as a photojournalist.
Soviet Union took 2,388,000 Germans and 1,097,000 combatants from other European nations as prisoners during and just after the war. More than a million of the German captives died. The immense suffering Germany and her Axis partners had caused surely played a key role in the treatment of enemy POWs. “In 1945, in Soviet eyes it was time to pay”, wrote British military historian Max Arthur. “For most Russian soldiers, any instinct for pity or mercy had died somewhere on a hundred battlefields between Moscow and Warsaw”.
Josef Stalin’s regime was ill equipped to deal with prisoners: In 1943 as more enemy units fell into Soviet hands, death rates among POWs lingered around 60 percent. Roughly 570,000 German and Axis prisoners had already died in captivity. By March 1944, conditions began to improve, but for economic reasons: As its manpower was swallowed up in the war effort, the USSR turned to POWs as a surrogate work force. The Soviet Union repatriated prisoners at irregular intervals, sometimes in large numbers. As late as 1953, however, at least 20,000 German POWs remained in Russia. After Stalin’s death, those men were finally sent home.
A US soldier stands in the rubble of The Monument to the Battle of Nations. Leipzig, Germany, 1945.
A female ATA pilot (Joan Hughes) stands beneath the nose of a Short Stirling, c.1940.
A young injured English girl is consoled by a Nurse and a civilian during the Blitz, London, United Kingdom. – September 7th, 1940.
15. On Fire
Children playing basketball adjacent a burning building in Harlem, NYC, 1975.
Revolutionaries on the streets during the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
17. Johnny Clem
Lance Sergeant Clem, age 12, in 1863.
He left home by 11 (stories say 9 but it’s probably an exaggeration) and joined army as the youngest non-commissioned officer. He joined as a drummer boy, though was promoted to Sergeant after shooting a Confederate Colonel with his sawed down musket. He was injured twice during the war and later captured and released. He retired in 1915 at the rank of Brigadier General, the last Civil War veteran in service.
18. Playing with guns
Little girl playing with guns left on streets of Berlin after war in 1945.
19. Arthur Greiser
At the Poznan Citadel hanged Arthur Greiser – governor Wartheland and the fanatical Nazi prepared to be hanged, July 21, 1946. This was the last public execution in Poland and Europe.
20. Iron collar
An Indian ascetic wearing an iron collar, ca.1870.
The iron collar most probably is in place so that he can’t lie down. Asceticism is all about denial of luxury, indulgence, and even comfort. So some gurus will take vows to do extreme things like never laying down. Others will never cut their hair or fingernails.
“Let’s also not forget who started the practice of bombing civilian targets”. To whom are you refering? That Germany did it accidentally, but Britain started the targeting of civilians?