Iconic photo — on the day Hitler died, she bathed in his bathtub.
American photojournalist Lee Miller captured the atrocities of World War II. They included images of bombed-out London, as well as shots from German concentration camps. One of her most famous press photos was a scene taken in Adolf Hitler’s private apartment.
Ten days after his 56th birthday, Adolf Hitler and his newlywed wife Eva Braun locked themselves in a bunker beneath the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The day was April 30, 1945. It was probably just before 4:00 p.m. that Hitler and Braun took their own lives.
According to an NSDAP resolution from the 1930s, the dictator’s successors as leader should have been Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess, respectively. Under the circumstances, however, this was not possible, as the former was considered a traitor and the latter was in British captivity. Under Hitler’s will, therefore, the post of Reichspräsident (Reich President) was created, which was assumed by Karl Dönitz.
Muse of Picasso and Ray
Meanwhile, in Munich, at the Führer’s private lodgings, a pair of American photojournalists were staying to document the horrors of war. They were David Scherman, who collaborated with “LIFE” magazine, and Lee Miller, a correspondent for “Vogue” and an ex-model of this magazine.
The woman gained her photographic training under the tutelage of esteemed Surrealist artist Emmanuel Rudnitzky, better known as Man Ray. She was not only his student, but also his collaborator, muse and lover. Mentor Miller mastered to perfection the photographic technique of pseudo-solarization, with which he achieved special visual effects. He also invented his own technique of making images on light-sensitive material without the use of photographic apparatus, which he called rayography.
Lee Miller, famous for her extraordinary beauty, inspired not only Man Ray, but also Pablo Picasso himself. The Spanish painter was to make six portraits of the American woman.
The most famous photograph featuring her was taken at the end of World War II, when the Führer’s personal quarters were requisitioned by the American military. Miller decided to exploit this accordingly.
“I was living in Hitler’s private apartment in…