The German-Italian Collection (1939–1945)

Curator: Marko Ličina


The German-Italian Collection contains over 18,000 photographs, mostly by German photographers, collected in units of the so-called »Propaganda-Kompanie«. The foundation and the most important part of the collection present the photographs from the legacy of the editorial board of the Deutsche Adria Zeitung (German Adriatic Newspaper), which was published in Trieste between 14 January 1944 and 27 April 1945. The photographs were published primarily in the weekly Adria Illustrierte (Adria Illustrated), which was most likely the last published edition of any German mangazine during World War II, with the last issue published on 28 April 1945.


The collection includes photographs of Nazi officials, military commanders and ordinary soldiers, various military units, armoured vehicles, planes, ships and fighting and life on the front. Most of the photographs originate from the Eastern and Western fronts, the Balkans, and Italy. Among them are photographs of the Battle of Caen, Arnheim, the fighting in Hungary, and the fights of Italian units on the Eastern battlefield, volunteers of different nationalities in the German army and the SS, collaborative units, etc. The majority of photographs depicting military service was shot by photojournalists working for the Waffen SS between 1944 and 1945. Military-themed photographs prevail, but there is also a significant number of photographs depicting everyday life and various events in the Third Reich and the occupied Europe. Of the greatest value to the collection are captions on the backs of photographs containing invaluable information about locations, dates, units and photographers.

Kurt PAULI, German anti-aircraft gun protecting the wharf at Narva, 24 April 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 24 cm, inv. no.: NI2/918.
Kurt PAULI, German anti-aircraft gun protecting the wharf at Narva, 24 April 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 24 cm, inv. no.: NI2/918.
Heinrich ROSE, German war invalids playing »korbball«, a predecessor of basketball, Germany, October 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 13 cm, inv. no.: NI8/491.
Heinrich ROSE, German war invalids playing »korbball«, a predecessor of basketball, Germany, October 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 13 cm, inv. no.: NI8/491.
Max BÜSCHEL, One of the stars of Nazi propaganda, SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittman, with his crew. A few days earlier, himself and the shooter, SS-Rottenführer Balthasar Woll, here kneeling by the cannon, were decorated with knight's crosses of the Iron Cross, the Eastern front, January 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 13 cm, inv. no.: NI8/733.
Max BÜSCHEL, One of the stars of Nazi propaganda, SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittman, with his crew. A few days earlier, himself and the shooter, SS-Rottenführer Balthasar Woll, here kneeling by the cannon, were decorated with knight's crosses of the Iron Cross, the Eastern front, January 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 13 cm, inv. no.: NI8/733.
Adolf KUNZMANN, The remaining units of the German SS parachute battalion 500 after failing to capture Tito, resting in the entrenchments at the cemetery in Drvar, May 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 24 cm, inv. no.: NI9/2.
Adolf KUNZMANN, The remaining units of the German SS parachute battalion 500 after failing to capture Tito, resting in the entrenchments at the cemetery in Drvar, May 1944. Black-and-white photograph, 18 × 24 cm, inv. no.: NI9/2.
SCHEIDT, Chetnik Officer of the Dinaric Division, SS-Sturmbannführer Ernst Lerch, and SS-Hauptsturmführer Reinhold Mohrenschildt during the offensive against the 9th Corps, Slovene Littoral, March 1945. Black-and-white photograph, 18 x 24 cm, inv. no.: NI11/491.
SCHEIDT, Chetnik Officer of the Dinaric Division, SS-Sturmbannführer Ernst Lerch, and SS-Hauptsturmführer Reinhold Mohrenschildt during the offensive against the 9th Corps, Slovene Littoral, March 1945. Black-and-white photograph, 18 x 24 cm, inv. no.: NI11/491.