DECEMBER 1944 – A family explores Christmas gifts in their home in Malente-Gremsmühlen, Germany. Scan © Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com
The story behind the image
This photo from our family archive shows (from left to right) my grandfather, my mother, my grandmother, my mother’s cousin, the nanny, and my aunt. They sit under the Christmas tree and explore the gifts that Santa has brought.
I find this photo remarkable for several reasons.
First of all, the image is part of a series of 12 images. That is a lot of images by 1944’s standards, especially considering the restrictions of the war times. I’d assume it was one roll of negative film that went into this scene. Wow.
Secondly, the series must have been shot from a tripod using the self timer or a long wired remote control, hidden from the view.
Thirdly, the original print has severly faded over the years, like many other prints in the archive. Here is how it looks today, unedited:
Yet, it’s amazing to see what modern technology can do to restore such damaged images to preserve them as digital originals for decades to come.
And lastly, this was a German Christmas in 1944. The Second World War was in its last stages, and the people were worn out, everywhere. But my grandparents still celebrated Christmas as if nothing special was going on. They had moved to their ‘makeshift home’ in Malente-Gremsmühlen in the autumn of 1944 to escape the deadly risk of living in Kiel. The military harbor, the wharf and important weapon factories made the city a primary target for the allies – and my grandparents lived just about one Mile away from the military harbor. No wonder they were concerned. In Malente, just 40 kilometers from Kiel, they experienced peace and were secure.
And with these thoughts I wish you a Merry Christmas!
The high resolution image
|Image Source||6 x 6 cm black & white print|
|Digital Image Source||EPSON Perfection 4870 Photo|
|Digital Image Source Format||TIFF, 48 bits/pixel, AdobeRGB|
|Edited Image Format||JPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB|
|Edited Image Dimensions||2457 x 2457 Pixels|
|Copyright||Scan © Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com|