Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Only known photographs of French Resistance fighters facing Nazi firing squad are shown for first time
From the Daily Mail
The only known photographs of French Resistance fighters facing a Nazi firing squad at an execution site on the outskirts of Paris have gone on display for the first time.
The three pictures were taken by a German soldier who hid in the bushes on February 21, 1941 and secretly captured the executions at Mont-Valerien.
Despite more than 1,000 'hostages' being killed at the site, it was thought no pictures existed as Nazis prohibited the taking of photographs for fear they would be used as anti-propaganda.
The condemned, who were captured in revenge for the death of German soldiers and tried by military tribunals, were driven in lorries to the remote fort in western Paris and held in a chapel before they were executed.
Some scrawled their final messages on the walls of the chapel, which have recently been restored. Men were blindfolded and tied to wooden poles in a clearing before being shot by a group of 60 soldiers. Women were usually sent to Germany and beheaded.
Clemens Ruter, who provided a motorcycle escort to the prisoners, took the photographs with his Minox camera. The non-commissioned soldier never told anyone about the shots and the film was left in the camera for 40 years. Shortly before his death, while on a pilgrimage, Roman Catholic Mr Ruter confided his secret to a fellow German pilgrim.
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