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Article

Walking with The Murderers Are Among Us: Henry Ries’s Post-WWII Berlin Rubble Photographs

Department of History of Art and Architecture, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Received: 5 April 2020 / Revised: 29 May 2020 / Accepted: 11 June 2020 / Published: 7 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue World War, Art, and Memory: 1914 to 1945)
Henry Ries (1917–2004), a celebrated American-German photojournalist, was born into an upper-class Jewish family in Berlin. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1938 to escape Nazi Germany. As a new American citizen, he joined the U.S. Air Force. After the war, Ries became photo editor and chief photographer for the OMGUS Observer (1946–1947), the American weekly military newspaper published by the Information and Education Section of the Office of Military Government for Germany (OMGUS). One photograph by Ries that first appeared in this newspaper in 1946, and a second, in a different composition and enlarged format, that he included in his 2001 autobiography, create significant commentaries on postwar Germany. The former image accompanies an article about the first post-WWII German feature film: Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers Are Among Us. The photograph moves from functioning as a documentation of history and collective memory, to an individual remembrance and personal condemnation of WWII horrors. Both reveal Ries’s individual trauma over the destruction of Berlin and the death of family members, while also conveying the official policy of OMGUS. Ries’s works embody a conflicted, compassionate gaze, conveying ambiguous emotions about judgment of Germans, precisely because of his own identity, background and memories. View Full-Text
Keywords: Henry Ries; photojournalism; the OMGUS Observer; Wolfgang Staudte’s Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us); German Trümmerfilme (rubble film); rubble photographs; visual culture of war damage; Nazis; post-WWII Berlin Henry Ries; photojournalism; the OMGUS Observer; Wolfgang Staudte’s Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us); German Trümmerfilme (rubble film); rubble photographs; visual culture of war damage; Nazis; post-WWII Berlin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fryd, V.G. Walking with The Murderers Are Among Us: Henry Ries’s Post-WWII Berlin Rubble Photographs. Arts 2020, 9, 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030075

AMA Style

Fryd VG. Walking with The Murderers Are Among Us: Henry Ries’s Post-WWII Berlin Rubble Photographs. Arts. 2020; 9(3):75. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030075

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fryd, Vivien G. 2020. "Walking with The Murderers Are Among Us: Henry Ries’s Post-WWII Berlin Rubble Photographs" Arts 9, no. 3: 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030075

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