User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  13
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Leica - photographic Schindler's List

  1. #1
    It's all about the Light!
    Tech Admin
    Kym's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Jun 2008
    Location
    Modbury, Adelaide
    Posts
    9,639
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Leica - photographic Schindler's List

    I got an email this AM about Leica during WWII and thought it worth re-posting...

    The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product - precise,
    minimalist, and utterly efficient.

    Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned,
    socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon
    grace, generosity and modesty. E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer
    of Germany 's most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.

    And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the
    closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe , acted in such
    a way as to earn the title, "the photography industry's Schindler."

    As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst
    Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking
    for his help in getting them and their families out of the country. As
    Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany's Nuremberg
    laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional
    activities.

    To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established
    what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as "the Leica
    Freedom Train," a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the
    guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas.

    Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members
    were "assigned" to Leitz sales offices in France , Britain , Hong Kong
    and the United States

    Leitz's activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938,
    during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany ..

    Before long, German "employees" were disembarking from the ocean liner
    Bremen at a New York pier and making their way to the Manhattan office
    of Leitz Inc., where executives quickly found them jobs in the
    photographic industry.

    Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom - a
    new Leica.

    The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find work. Out of this
    migration came designers, repair technicians, salespeople, marketers
    and writers for the photographic press.


    Keeping the story quiet

    The "Leica Freedom Train" was at its height in 1938 and early 1939,
    delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with
    the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.

    By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America ,
    thanks to the Leitzes' efforts. How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get
    away with it?

    Leitz, Inc. was an internationally recognized brand that reflected
    credit on the newly resurgent Reich. The company produced range-finders
    and other optical systems for the German military. Also, the Nazi
    government desperately needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz's
    single biggest market for optical goods was the United States .

    Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good
    works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help
    Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe.

    Leitz's daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after
    she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into
    Switzerland . She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in
    the course of questioning. She also fell under suspicion when she attempted
    to improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave
    laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant
    during the 1940s.

    (After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her
    humanitarian efforts, among them the Officier d'honneur des Palms Academic
    from France in 1965 and the Aristide Briand Medal from the European Academy
    in the 1970s.)

    Why has no one told this story until now? According to the late Norman
    Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no
    publicity for its heroic efforts. Only after the last member of the
    Leitz family was dead did the "Leica Freedom Train" finally come to light.

    It is now the subject of a book, "The Greatest Invention of the Leitz
    Family: The Leica Freedom Train," by Frank Dabba Smith
    Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leica_Freedom_Train
    http://www.amazon.com/greatest-inven.../dp/B0006RZDJA (Currently out of print)
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



  2. #2
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
    Join Date
    08 Oct 2010
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    1,708
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow!
    What a fantastic story.
    Thanks for that Kym.

    If the Nazis had brains, they would have realised that the Jews in Germany could have been a great resource for them, yet they decided to try and kill them off.

    If you go back through history and learn from it, even over the last 2,000 years, you would learn that EVERY regime that tried to kill off the Jews ended up in disaster, and those governments and communities that just treated them like everyone else, continued to blossom and do well.
    Hitler could have had the atomic bomb well before the US had it, but Hitler said that as atomic energy was a Jewish invention (via Albert Einstein), he wouldn't use it.

    Many people forget that without the Jewish religion, there would be no Christian religion either.
    I know that many people are suspicious of Jews, and that is because the Jewish religion is not a missionary religion (they don't go out and try to convert anyone), there is a lot of missinformation about them.
    The Holy Book of the Jews (the Torah) is actually the Old Testament, and that it was the Jews that invented the 10 commandments, and of course, The Lord's Prayer.
    In the New Testament, Jesus was called the King of the Jews and Christ was born a Jew, lived his life as a Jew, and died as a Jew.
    Christianity came about well after his death.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom, is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

  3. #3
    Ausphotography Regular
    Join Date
    19 Oct 2011
    Location
    Klemzig
    Posts
    1,107
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi Kym

    Thanks for this post. An amazing story. I believe there will be a reward in heaven for this man of faith who risked his life to save others.
    Canon 60D; EFS 55-250mm; EFS 18-55mm; 50mm
    All CC very welcome. I'm keen to learn.


  4. #4
    Member reflect's Avatar
    Join Date
    21 Feb 2010
    Location
    Burleigh Heads, Queensland
    Posts
    418
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great story, true humanitarinism, the part that shines through is that the family wished for no publicity of their efforts.
    Andrew
    D700, D5000, Various Nikon and Sigma Lenses and lots of other expensive thingys with buttons and knobs (some even go Bing !!)
    www.andrewplacephotography.com.au

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    28 Nov 2008
    Location
    River Murray
    Posts
    727
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    that is a great story Kym..................interesting to see what Nikon were doing at the same time!

  6. #6
    It's all about the Light!
    Tech Admin
    Threadstarter
    Kym's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Jun 2008
    Location
    Modbury, Adelaide
    Posts
    9,639
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

  7. #7
    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
    Join Date
    02 Jul 2010
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    693
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Doesn't make you feel so bad about the premium applied to Leica cameras.

  8. #8
    Ausphotography Regular Boo53's Avatar
    Join Date
    08 Mar 2010
    Location
    Seymour
    Posts
    1,976
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Even though they were in a position of privilege it was still an in credibly courageous course of action

    And to want the story kept quiet shows an even greater depth of character.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Even though they were in a position of privilege it was still an in credibly courageous course of action

    And to want the story kept quiet shows an even greater depth of character.

  9. #9
    It's all about the Light!
    Tech Admin
    Threadstarter
    Kym's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Jun 2008
    Location
    Modbury, Adelaide
    Posts
    9,639
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We just returned for a trip to Kenya, Uganda then Israel.
    We visited the holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

    What Ernst Leitz and his daughter did is just so much more significant after seeing the museum.

    Don't take our freedoms for granted.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •