Image size: 1600 x 1210 pixel. 336 KB
Date: Friday, 1 June 1945
Place: Berlin, Germany
Photographer: Yevgeny A. Khaldei
This composite image by renowned Soviet photographer Yevgeny A. Khaldei (March 23, 1917 - October 6, 1997) depicts the Red Army on the move. T-34/85 tanks are transporting Tankodesantniki (Tank Borne Troops). An artillery crew appears to be pulling a ZiS-3 76mm field gun through the rubble. Horse-drawn wagons carry supplies. Yet this image is made from several others; if you zoom in, you can see the crude lines where the photos were cut together, and even where Khaldei hand-drew details to cover where two photos do not fit together! The background clouds come from a separate photo entirely. Even the rubble has been cut and pasted into the photo. The view of this street may not actually exist; The spire in the background is part of the ruins of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche ("Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church") but only one of its two surviving towers appears. This view angle of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche does not match up with contemporary photos of Kurfurstendamm, the street next to the ruins. The bell tower of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche was never repaired; it was left in ruins as a memorial to the war dead. The church was bombed on November 23, 1943 in a Royal Air Force night bombing of Berlin. Composite images such as this one reinforced Soviet propaganda concepts intended for their public media. By depicting the Red Army on the move, it was not a static garrison of occupation, but a dynamic force against Nazism. Khaldei and other Soviet photographers did not share the western belief that photos should not be radically altered for propaganda purposes. Most of Khaldei's work has been altered in some major or minor way.