Scrapbookpages Blog

May 10, 2015

Margaret Bourke-White’s famous photo of Buchenwald prisoners

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 6:23 pm
Famous photo of Buchenwald survivors was taken by Margaret Bourk-White

Famous photo of Buchenwald survivors taken by Margaret Bourke-White

A recent news article, which you can read in full here, included the photo shown above with a credit given to Time and Life Pictures/Getty Image. This photo was taken by the well known photographer Margaret Bourke-White, who was famous for posing her pictures, and passing them off as candid photos.

The description of this photo, in the news article is this:

“Emaciated male prisoners, victims of Nazi genocide, staring through barbed wire fence at their liberators after American forces overran the Buchenwald concentration camp”

The men in the photo are far from being “victims of Nazi genocide.” If they had been genocided, they would have been dead at the time that the prisoners liberated themselves before the American soldiersĀ  arrived.

The photo above, taken by Margaret Burke-White, on April 15, 1945, after the liberation of Buchenwald, shows a group of unsmiling male inmates, who were privileged Communist political prisoners, lined up in front of a barbed wire fence in the camp.

In the center of the photo is a dapper-looking gentleman with a neatly trimmed moustache and short beard; he is wearing freshly-laundered striped prison pants, and what looks like a new wool overcoat.

His expression is one of disdain, as though he can’t wait for the picture taking to end, and the cigarettes and chocolate bars to be handed out. The rest of the prisoners in the picture, all of them clean shaven, including one elderly gentleman leaning on a cane, are looking at the camera as though they are puzzled by the sight of this self-assured American woman, dressed in full Army regalia, who is standing behind a camera set upon a tripod, and holding a flash fill-light attached to the camera.

Margaret Bourke-White, America’s most famous photographer, had been traveling with the Third Army and had accompanied the American soldiers when they crossed the Rhine. She had arrived at Buchenwald on April 15, 1945, along with General George S. Patton. This was four days after the prisoners had liberated themselves on April 11, 1945.

Margaret Bourke-White, famous Life photographer

Margaret Bourke-White, famous Life photographer

Margaret Bourke-White using a light meter  to get the right exposure for a photo of the dead prisoners at Buchenwald

Margaret Bourke-White using a light meter to get the right exposure for a photo of the dead prisoners at Buchenwald