As Tuesday dawned, what we knew about an anonymous photo album by a Nazi photographer was only what could be inferred from its 214 pictures (all but one uncaptioned). We could see he had amazing access: taking portraits of Russian and Jewish prisoners one month, standing just a few feet from Adolf Hitler the next. We knew he had been to the Eastern Front, we surmised that he worked for the Propagandakompanie and we guessed that the pretty woman in the album’s closing pages was someone special.
There was a striking divide in the album between his Eastern Front pictures, which ended with his convalescence somewhere, and the postcard pictures he took around the Bavarian countryside and in central Munich, when the young woman seemed always at his side.
It was as if war could somehow be partitioned from everyday life. And love.
Of course, that isn’t how war goes.
We now know that the photographer was Franz Krieger, a native of Salzburg, Austria, who lived until 1993. And we know that the woman was Frieda Krieger, his wife. She was killed on Nov. 17, 1944 — as was their 2-year-old daughter, Heidrun — when America’s 15th Air Force bombed Salzburg.