Hitler and his schoolgirls: Extraordinary colour photographs emerge of Nazi leader celebrating his 50th birthday (with lots of brunettes)
By LOUISE BOYLE
Last updated at 8:48 AM on 12th January 2012
The party atmosphere of the vivid, colourful photographs offer a chilling facade for the horrors perpetrated under the Nazis' monstrous regime.
The rare images were captured by German photographer Hugo Jaeger from the rise of fascism in Germany in the Thirties until the end of the Second World War.
He was given unique access to Adolf Hitler at massive, public rallies across Europe and also in more intimate moments with colleagues. The colour images bring Nazi Germany to life - in one image Hitler salutes crowds at a rally under a dazzling blue sky, while the backdrop is awash with the red of the swastika.
Centre of attention: A group of Austrian schoolgirls crowd around to chat to Hitler at an unidentified social event
In another picture, Hitler cozies up to a bunch of schoolgirls while they crowd around him in awe. Mr Jaeger was an early pioneer of colour photography, something which pleased the tyrant. According to Life Magazine, Hitler once told Mr Jaeger: 'The future belongs to colour photography.'
The story of how the pictures managed to survive the war is almost as remarkable as the images themselves.
When the Allies stormed Germany in 1945, Mr Jaeger found his home near Munich subject to a raid by American soldiers. They unearthed a leather suitcase in which Jaeger had hidden thousands of copies of the images, which he feared would be destroyed.
However the officers were distracted by a bottle of cognac also in the case, which the proceeded to drink, toasting to the photographer.
Salute of a tyrant: Hitler and his henchmen of the Legion Condor and aircraft division, the Luftwaffe, at a rally in Germany held in their honour in front of thousands of citizens under swastika banners
Chilling: Solemn Nazi soldiers gather to celebrate the fascist leader's birthday at the West wall in Germany
Mr Jaeger then buried the images inside glass jars on the outskirts of town for 20 years before finally selling them in 1965 to Life Magazine.
Most of the shots focus on Hitler's birthday parties. His 50th celebration occurs in April 1939 and is marked by overblown military pomp. Just five months later, he ordered Nazi troops to March into Poland, a move which saw Europe erupt into war.
In one picture, also from 1939, the mass murderer looks delighted to have been given a birthday present of a black convertible Volkswagen from Austrian car manufacturer Ferdinand Porsche.
The charming face of evil: Hitler chats to a glamorously dressed woman as they Nazis enjoy a party (left) while two official Nazi photographers clamber around trying to take pictures
Bowing to the Fuhrer: Austrian automobile manufacturer Ferdinand Porsche (left, in dark suit) presents a newly-designed convertible Volkswagen car to Hitler for his 50th Birthday in Berlin
The facade of civility: Hundreds of Nazi officers and their wives attend a classical music concert for Hitler's 54th birthday in 1943 while across Europe, millions of Jews were being shipped to their deaths in concentration camps
On the warpath: Hitler and his cohorts at army manoeuvres in the spring of 1939 several months before war broke out across Europe
Facists in their finery: Female guests sit in their fur coats among Nazi officers at a military parade for Hitler's 50th birthday in Berlin
In other images, the fascist leader is captured chatting to a glamorous blonde at a party while in another, hundreds of Nazi officers and their wives dressed to the nines gather for a classical music performance in Hitler's honour.
The Second World War, from 1939 to 1945, was the deadliest conflict in human history and spread to the four corners of the world. There were an estimated 50 - 70 million fatalities. Hitler masterminded the genocide of six million Jews in the Holocaust along with millions of other religious and political opponents.
Flying the flag: Hitler watches as troops roll by at a military parade for his 50th birthday (left) while Nazi, German and Italian flags hang from balconies to welcome Hitler during state visit to Italy
Mark on history: Hitler once told photographer Hugo Jaeger that 'colour photography was the future'
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