[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [Rollei] What did you do in the war? (long)
- Subject: Re: [Rollei] What did you do in the war? (long)
- From: TrueBadger
- Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 14:18:59 -0400
In a message dated 5/16/2003 12:13:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, crgrbrts writes:
> Here's one for the Rollei historians among us:
> Knowing that I'm a Leica owner, a friend recently gave me a German book on Leica photography published in 1941. It is an interesting but unsettling chronicle of a grim chapter in the camera maker's undeniable history.
> Curiously but predictably, the book's lead chapter on the history of the Leica and its inventor, Oskar Barnack, is illustrated liberally with photos of Wehrmacht soldiers, Kriegsmarine sailors and Luftwaffe airmen cheerfully and efficiently raping their European neighbors. A portrait of Hitler in "full cry" ends the introduction.
> Given the context and time of the book's printing, this clumsy propaganda did not disturb me unduly. By the book's end, however, I felt much less charitable. In a late, graphic and chilling chapter on "medical" photography, for instance, the Leica is slyly but unmistakenly portrayed as a "scientific" tool useful in racial and ethnic profiling (literally).
> Thoroughly disgusted, I slammed the book shut and reflected darkly upon those who designed, assembled and marketed my pre-1960 Leicas. I am neither young nor naive, but a periodic reminder of some of the uses to which these masterfully crafted machines were put -- and reflection upon the fact that Leitz provided the Nazi war machine with untold thousands of its instruments -- still has the power to sicken me (as well it should).
> This incident got me to wondering: what was Franke & Heidecke's contribution to the German war effort? We never hear of a "Luftwaffe Rollei", for instance. What were the men and
> women of the Rollei-Werke doing during the war years?
> Craig Roberts
> Washington, DC
You'd be even more dismayed if you had some of the conversations I've had with some long-time leica employees in years past.
Extreme competence is very often accompanied by a good measure of arrogance. Perhaps you've noticed this even in our little group?
I won't speak to how today's personnel may be, because I haven't had close contact since the early 80's, but in those days I did, and something that still looked a lot like remnants of nazism could be detected in conversations at lunch and sales meetings without much effort. If, for perverse reasons of your own, you encouraged it, you could easily draw it out into the sunlight.
Leitz was not alone in this. When I took delivery on my Mercedes at a local dealer, the salesman snapped to attention, clicked his heels and softly but clearly said, "Sig Heil...enjoy".