The NY Times Lens blog and the Spiegel have a set of pictures showing the Eastern Front in World War II (Barbarossa was 70 years ago tomorrow). They are apparently from the personal album of a Propaganda Korps photographer whose identity, despite his self-portrait, remains unknown:
First and foremost, he documented the progress through Eastern Europe of a bus convoy in the service of the Reichs-Autozug Deutschland, a Nazi Party unit whose responsibilities included the logistics needed to stage mass rallies. Judging from graffiti written on the dusty bus windows, the overall itinerary was Berlin-Minsk-Smolensk-Munich. Identifiable landmarks in the album show that the convoy made its way through Gdansk, Poland, which was then Danzig; Kaliningrad, Russia, which was then Königsberg; and Barysaw, Belarus.
Little of the battlefield is seen (the front was, by then, far ahead), but a great deal of destruction is evident. Minsk, the capital of what was then the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and fell within days of the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, is in ruins. There are many views of the countryside, as well as pictures of peasants that bring the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers to mind.
Update: The photographer has been identified and there’s a sad story behind the album.