Hitler's bathroom

I stumbled upon this photo by pure accident. I was looking for the reference to a photo of Helena Bonham Carter and I saw this photo of this woman in a bathtub and wondered who she was. I though maybe she was a celebrity of days gone by so I looked into it. And what an unusual story I found. I hesitated about doing a post on Hitler. I actually wrote this post  back in September and have left it in draft mode and was thinking again about just deleting it. At the time I wrote it I I had found the story interesting so I figured others might find it interesting too. Looking at it again, I still think it's a painful, unusual story, a horrible moment in history that I hope will never be repeated.

So here goes...
The bathroom you see above was the bathroom of Adolf Hitler. The girl sitting in the tub was working for Vogue. The day this photo was taken was a day or two after Hitler committed suicide. Interesting no? That's my coles notes version.

Here's the more detailed version of the story behind these photos (it's so well written, I didn't think it would do any good putting it into my own words): 
Lee Miller, covering WWII for Vogue teamed up with the American photographer David E. Scherman, a Life magazine correspondent. The above photograph by Scherman of Miller in the bathtub of Adolf Hitler’s house in Munich.

The night after Miller visited Dachau, on April 30, 1945–earlier that day Hitler committed suicide in Berlin–Miller and Scherman entered Munich with the American 45th Division that was liberating the city. They happened upon a dilapidated and normal-looking apartment building on Prinzenregentplatz 27, and realized, upon entering, that it was Hitler’s Munich apartment. They billeted there for three days. Miller wrote to her Vogue editor Audrey Winters:

“I was living in Hitler’s private apartment when his death was announced, midnight of Mayday. . . Well, alright, he was dead. He’d been an evil-machine-monster all these years, until I visited the places he made famous, talked to people who knew him, dug into backstairs gossip and ate and slept in his house. He became less fabulous and therefore more terrible, along with a little evidence of his having some almost human habits; like an ape who embarrasses and humbles you with his gestures, mirroring yourself in caricature.”

When the photo came out, it was considered an extremely poor judgement. For some, Miller posing nude in the tub of one of the most repulsive men in history was nothing more than a ill-timed reflection of the adage, “To the victor goes the spoils”. For others, it represents the power of life over death, “The living do what they can and the dead suffer what they must”. Lee Miller herself shied away from the controversies but reprouding the image very rarely and noted that she was merely trying to wash the odors of Dachau away.
This is what the The New York Times had to say about this photo: “A picture of the F├╝hrer balances on the lip of the tub; a classical statue of a woman sits opposite it on a dressing table; Lee, in the tub, inscrutable as ever, scrubs her shoulder. A woman caught between horror and beauty, between being seen and being the seer.”

Digging a bit more I found another interesting, but sad detail of this photo re 
the boots in the photos:

  The boots on the bath mat, says V&A curator Mark Haworth-Booth, 'had walked through the horror of the Dachau death camp earlier the same day.' 

Sad, sad. I would not want to and could not sit in that tub.

I wonder if they placed the framed photograph of Hitler on the bathtub to create more of a sensational photo or if Adolf Hitler actual had a photo of himself on his bathtub? Only Miller and Scherman will ever know.

I don't know how she was able to sit in that tub or live in his apartment. Just the thought of it makes my stomach turn and looking at those boots makes me want to cry.

Please visit "Tweedland" the gentleman's club blog to continue to read about the fascinating life of Lee Miller. Jeeves, really did an outstanding job writing this very detailed post: here
Another post of his I enjoyed was the story of the origin of the bowler hat. You can check it out: The Bowler hat
image and txt via: "tweedland" the gentleman's clubguardian


K&B by the Sea said...

Fascinating and eerie and creepy all rolled into one. I'm with you, there's no way I would live in Hitler's apartment, nevermind soak in his tub!

mikky said...

Kelly, you decribed it perfectly, fascinated, creeped out and eerie is exactly how I felt reading the story.