Tuesday, 7 May 2013
These photographs were taken by the German photographer Robert Bothner during the Second World War, and depict Smolensk, Warsaw and Ghent under occupation by Nazi Germany. As time goes on it seems there are more and more sets of original colour photographs turning up, and while the quality on some is not brilliant, they truly help the Second World War come alive.
were scanned from Afgacolor slides. Unfortunately the photographs are undated, but the Smolensk series look likely to have been taken in 1941, as the damage to the city is still fresh, and there are discarded ammunition boxes in one of the photographs.
This first series depict Smolensk some time after the Battle of Smolensk that occurred in July 1941. Preceding the battle, on 28th June the city was heavily bombarded, the effects of which are still clearly visible. The large white building in the photos is Assumption Cathedral, the construction of which was completed in 1772. The final three photos in this section are believed to have been taken somewhere outside Smolensk due to their roof architecture but are likely to fall within Western Belarus.