General Photography

It probably can’t get any more complicated than this: Should there be a book with photos of what German cities looked like after they were destroyed by bombers during World War II?

“‘We’ve all seen the pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But these (new) images are not part of the iconography of the war,’ says historian Joerg Friedrich, who compiled the book. […] Mr Friedrich collected the photos from town archives across Germany while touring the country last year presenting a book about the Allied bombing. That book, The Fire, caused controversy both here and in Britain by suggesting the air campaign may have been a war crime. ‘Can you show the body parts of bomb victims collected in bathtubs? The charred corpses of women, who crouched to the floor in a desperate search for oxygen?’ asked Die Welt newspaper. […] a cultural magazine programme on ARD public television wrote it off as a ‘provocation’ that sought to ‘compare the air war with the Holocaust’. Mr Friedrich says the decision to publish the photos was not easy. In the end, the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl played a part in convincing him - with the proviso that British, Dutch, Polish and other civilian victims of air warfare also be portrayed.” (full story; images)