Yevgeny Khaldei and Hermann Goering
Best known for his Reichstag flag rising picture, Yevgeny Khaldei (1917-1997) was the premier Red Army photographer from 1939 to 1948. Eventually, he was dismissed by Stalin’s anti-Semitism, but in 1945, he was the Soviets’ frontline photographer in the International Miltary Tribunals in Nuremberg. Nuremberg was a difficult assignment many photojournalists. Access to the courtroom was tightly governed under rules drafted by the Americans. Three glass enclosures were distributed along the edges of the room, and photographers were confined to them, two-by-two, and given only three minutes to shoot. One enclosure faced the dock, another faced the justices, and the third faced the those who had gathered to observe the proceedings. Khaldei finally circumvented the restriction by bribing an assistant to one of the Soviet justices with a bottle of gin in exchange for a better seat – the seat that yielded one of the most interesting photographs of Hermann Göring and the Trials.
Hermann Goering was extremely angry that the soldiers allowed a Russian (let alone a Jew) to photograph him. Dressed in his Soviet naval uniform (which further annoyed Goering) Khaldei pursued Goering aggressively: “I took lots of pictures of Göring because I thought, ‘Hitler is dead.’ That makes Göring public enemy number one. I took pains to be near him at all times.” With the help of an American MP and his baton, Goering was forced to face Khaldei’s lens, and even to have his picture taken with him. Towards the end of the trial, before the sentencing, Khaldei had his photo taken standing near Göring by a colleague. With the exception of his mother, Khaldei’s entire family had been slaughtered by the Germans in 1941.