Christmas, 1943

DECEMBER 1943 – A woman poses for the photographer with her daughters in front of a Christmas tree in their home in Kiel, Germany. Scan © Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

This photo from 1943 shows my aunt Editha (left, 2½), my grandmother Edith, and my mother Inga (1½), in front of the Christmas tree with the gifts that Santa has brought. The mood is obviously good, and Santa was quite generous despite of the war that had been hitting Kiel hard that year.

1943 had been a good year for the kids. They spent the summer in St. Peter, a village at the North Sea, far away from the war, with a long, beautiful beach and unspoilt nature. At the end of August they moved over to Malente-Gremsmühlen, a village about 40 kilometers east of Kiel. Again, the war was far away here.

However, they celebrated Christmas in their home in Kiel. The photo must have been shot by my grandfather who had been using a self-timer or remote trigger in later years. I guess there was just one strong electrical light (or a flash) on the left. Since there are several shots in this series that show all the same camera position, he was likely using a tripod or maybe a small table to steady the camera.

Like many images from that period, the original print has faded over the almost eight decades. Here is how the print looks today, unedited:

The original print 2-029 as it looked in 2021. Since 1943, it has faded and had to be restored digitally. © Mark Zanzig/

While we do have prints that are much more damaged, it still has plenty of scratches, spots and clouds. Isn’t it amazing what modern technology can do to restore such faded images to preserve them as “digital originals” for generations to come?

And with these thoughts I wish you a Merry Christmas!

The high resolution image

Capture Date24-DEC-1943
LocationKiel, Germany
Image Source5.5 x 5.5 cm black & white print
Digital Image SourceEPSON Perfection 4870 Photo
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, AdobeRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions2585 x 2585 Pixels
CopyrightScan © Mark Zanzig/

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