Familienportrait – “In Germany Before the War” / Black and white photographs from the 1930s – Part 1

Not only in Berlin marching uniformed men were a common sight. Small towns like Bad Liebenwerda mobilised as well.


Folklore at the Lustgarten

My great-aunt Lotte was married to the police-officer Paul Springer. Uncle Paul was a conservative but not a nazi. He was deeply convinced that police should provide shelter for people and therefore he despised the prosecution of the jews. When on 9th november 1938 the nazis raided jewish shops he commanded his policemen to protect jewish property on Friedrichstrasse. This was the end of his career in the Third Reich.

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.

All fotographs 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.


Neue Wache Unter den Linden



On top



At the station



Recreation home



 “Wanderer” on a bridge



The guard marching to Schinkels “Neue Wache” which was interpreted as a memorial for Nazi matyrs


A man and his goat



Everybody loves a marching tune

Die Geschichte von Onkel Paul und Tante Lotte:


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