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The Hitler Pictures That Hitler Wanted Destroyed

Despite the Führer’s demand, the negatives were not burned

Adam Chandler
July 12, 2013
(Heinrich Hoffmann.)
(Heinrich Hoffmann.)

Maybe there’s a little too much enthusiasm for these “unbelievable” photographs (h/t Alex Aciman) of Adolf Hitler practicing movements for a speech, but I suppose as historical curiosities go, it’s always surprising when old artifacts bubble up to the surface.

Taken by photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, the extraordinary pictures show Hitler rehearsing while listening to a recording of one of his own speeches. They were reportedly taken in 1925, soon after Hitler was released from a nine-month stint in prison during which he dictated his autobiography, Mein Kampf.

While originally published in Hoffmann’s 1955 memoir entitled Hitler Was My Friend, the pictures haven’t been released elsewhere until this week when they started making the rounds. The photos show Hitler dramatically acting out movements to accompany the text of the speech. I can’t imagine why he’d want these destroyed.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.