Familienportrait – “In Germany Before the War – Part 2” / Black and white photographs from the 1930s

Day of school enrollment

All photographs have been taken between 1935 and 1938. They show a country in a state of common mobilisation. Uniforms, parades and marching-tunes seemed to be an everyday occurrence. In private we see people engaged in peaceful doings, when the terror of the nazis was already obvious for everybody.

My great-aunt Lotte was married to the police-officer Paul Springer. He was an amateur fotographer who focused on his fellow policemen, his family, Berlin and the countyside, namely Bad Liebenwerda, a small town on the prussian border to saxony where Tante Lotte was born. I inherited an album of his pictures, the quality and the freshness of the prints is amazing. Many of the small 5 by 10 cm photographs were destroyed by uncle Paul in the last days of the war. The russian troops were notorious for shooting people on which they found pictures of swastikas or the “Führer”.

After the war uncle Paul was chosen to build a new Berlin police-force because he was no outspoken nazi and no member of the NSDAP. On may 1st 1946 he committed suicide by laying himself on the tracks of the Heidekrautbahn near Berlin. It remained unclear whether he did it because of crimes he committed during the Third Reich, or because of his severe head injury after a bomb explosion a few weeks before his death.

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Japanese marines parading Unter den Linden

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In front of the Humboldt-University

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Raceground Hoppegarten

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Collecting money for the nazis

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Neptun fountain in front of the Stadtschloss

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Olympic fire at the Stadtschloss

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Ladies with dog in the countryside

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Golden wedding of my great-grandparents 1937

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Changing of the guard in front of Schinkels Neue Wache. The Nazis renamed it to “Ehrenmal”, as a memorial for their “martyers”.


Brandenburg Gate on christmas 1937

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Girls school

All photographs by Paul Springer

In Germany Before the War – Part One:


The Story of Paul Springer in german:


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