National Socialist, Cologne, 1937

August Sander, part four

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Nationalsozialist, Köln,1937 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”.
In 1929, Sander published his book “Face of our Time” (Antlitz der Zeit), a selection of 60 portraits, from his series People of the 20th Century. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic.
Under the Nazi regime, his work and personal life were greatly constrained. Sander’s book was seized in 1936 and the photographic plates destroyed. His son Erich, who was a member of the left wing Socialist Workers’ Party (SAP), was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence. Around 1942, during World War II, Sander left Cologne and moved to a rural area, allowing him to save most of his negatives. His studio was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Thirty thousand of Sander’s roughly forty-thousand negatives survived the war, only to perish in an accidental fire in Cologne in 1946. Sander practically ceased to work as a photographer after World War II. He died in Cologne in 1964.

This photograph of a seated National Socialist Party member (sergeant of the SA paramilitary group) is the first in the portfolio entitled ‘The National Socialists’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’, in August Sander’s major project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander’s ambition in this project, which he conceived in the 1920s, was to create a typology of the German people during his lifetime that would function as a scientific documentation for future generations. He organised more than 500 photographs into seven groups and over 45 portfolios, classified by the categories of estate, profession and, in this case, political affiliation. Here the subject leans back in his chair, a swastika cufflink just visible in sharp focus peeking out from underneath his brown uniform shirt, and looks confidently into the camera.
National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), more commonly known as Nazism is the ideology and practice associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and Nazi Germany, as well as other far-right groups. Nazism characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and anti-Semitism. It was developed out of the influences of Pan-Germanism, the Völkisch German nationalist movement and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after German defeat in World War I.
The Sturmabteilung (SA), literally Storm Detachment, functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League (Rotfrontkämpferbund) of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists, and Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. The SA developed pseudo-military titles for its members. The SA ranks were adopted by the Schutzstaffel (SS), which originated as a branch of the SA before being separated. Truppführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1930 as a rank of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Translated as “Troop Leader”, the rank of Truppführer was considered the equivalent of a senior sergeant, or sergeant first class. The SA have been known in contemporary times as “Brownshirts” (Braunhemden). Brown-coloured shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large batch of them were cheaply available after World War I, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany’s former African colonies. In the 1930s, the Hugo Boss Company produced these brown SA shirts along with the all-black SS uniform and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth.
Hugo Ferdinand Boss (1885–1948) was a German fashion designer and businessman. He was the founder of the clothing company Hugo Boss. Boss was born in Metzingen, in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg. He did an apprenticeship as a merchant, completed military service from 1903 to 1905 and worked in a weaving mill in Konstanz. In 1914, he was mobilized into the army and he served through World War I with the rank of corporal. He founded his own clothing company in Metzingen in 1923, producing shirts and jackets and then work-clothing, sportswear and raincoats. In 1928 he became the official supplier of uniforms to the SA, SS, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and other party organizations. Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, and became a sponsoring member of the SS. He also joined the German Labour Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National Socialist People’s Welfare in 1941. After joining these organizations, his sales increased from 38,260 Reichsmark (25.393,12 € ($26,993)) in 1932 to over 3,300,000 RM in 1941. After World War II, Boss was fined “a very heavy penalty” of 100,000 DM (66.371,32 € ($70,553)) for his support of Nazism and was not allowed to vote. He died of a tooth abscess in 1948, but his business survived.
In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to an apology by the company.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Wikipedia: Nazism
Wikipedia: Sturmabteilung
Wikipedia: Truppführer
Wikipedia: Hugo_Boss (fashion designer)
Wikipedia: Hugo_Boss (company)

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924



George Bernard Shaw, 1889

160 years since the birth of George Bernard Shaw

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

George Bernard Shaw in 1889

George Bernard Shaw in 1889 (Berg Collection/The New York Public Library)

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist whose influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, with a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory. In 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Born in Dublin, Shaw moved to London in 1876, where he struggled to establish himself as a writer and novelist, and embarked on a rigorous process of self-education. By the mid-1880s he had become a respected theatre and music critic.

“George Bernard Shaw… has a fund of dry Irish humour that is simply irresistible. He is a clever writer and speaker – is the grossest flatterer I ever met, is horribly untrustworthy as he repeats everything he hears, and does not always stick to the truth, and is very plain like a long corpse with dead white face – sandy sleek hair, and a loathsome small straggly beard, and yet is one of the most fascinating men I ever met.”
Edith Nesbit, letter to Ada Breakell – 19th August, 1884

Following a political awakening, he joined the gradualist Fabian Society (a British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles of Democratic Socialism via gradualist and reformist effort in democracies, rather than by revolutionary overthrow) and became its most prominent pamphleteer.
Shaw had been writing plays for years before his first public success, Arms and the Man in 1894. Influenced by Henrik Ibsen, he sought to introduce a new realism into English-language drama, using his plays as vehicles to disseminate his political, social and religious ideas. By the early twentieth century his reputation as a dramatist was secured with a series of critical and popular successes.
Shaw’s expressed views were often contentious; he promoted eugenics and alphabet reform, and opposed vaccination and organised religion. He courted unpopularity by denouncing both sides in the First World War as equally culpable, and although not a republican, castigated British policy on Ireland in the postwar period. These stances had no lasting effect on his standing or productivity as a dramatist; the inter-war years saw a series of often ambitious plays, which achieved varying degrees of popular success.
In 1938 he provided the screenplay for a filmed version of Pygmalion for which he received an Oscar Academy Award.
In the final decade of his life he made fewer public statements, but continued to write prolifically until shortly before his death, aged ninety-four, having refused all state honours including the Order of Merit in 1946.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: George Bernard Shaw
Wikipedia: Fabian Society
Gutenberg: E-Books by Bernard Shaw
Spartacus Educational: George Bernard Shaw
New York Public Library
Buy a Print:
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Castro, Sartre and de Beauvoir, Cuba, 1960

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Fidel Castro, Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir with Celia Sanchez and Juan Arcocha in the Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba. (Photo by Alberto Korda) October 1960

Fidel Castro (middle), Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (front) with Juan Arcocha (left) and Celia Sanchez (behind) cruising the Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba in October 1960 (Photo by Alberto Korda)

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and then President from 1976 to 2008. Politically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and business were nationalized, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society. Internationally, Castro was the Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1979 to 1983 and from 2006 to 2008.
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (1905-1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism. His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines. Sartre has also been noted for his open relationship with the prominent feminist theorist Simone de Beauvoir.
He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying that he always declined official honours and that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution”.
Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (1908-1986), was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiography and monographs on philosophy, politics and social issues. She is known for her 1949 treatise “The Second Sex”, a detailed analysis of women’s oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism; and for her novels, including “She Came to Stay” and “The Mandarins”. She is also known for her open relationship with French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
Alberto Diaz Gutiérrez, better known as Alberto Korda (1928-2001) was a Cuban photographer, remembered for his famous image “Guerrillero Heroico” of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.
Juan Arcocha (1927-2010) was a Cuban intellectual; lawyer, writer, journalist, translator and interpreter. He wrote numerous novels that have been translated into several languages.
Celia Sánchez Manduley (1920–1980) was a Cuban revolutionary, politician, researcher and archivist. She was a close friend of Fidel Castro. Her face appears in the watermark on Cuban peso banknotes.
–  Excerpts from Eugene Wolters’ article in Critical Theory
In 1960, during the afterglow of the Cuban revolution, Simone de Beauvoir, the famous feminist philosopher took a trip with her long-time companion Sartre to Havana. They were part of a larger flock of leftist intellectuals who were invited to Cuba to attend cultural congresses. When they arrived in February, they met with Che Guevara and talked for hours. Photos were taken by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda. Korda is often known for his iconic photo of Che that has since become the basis for the image plastered on t-shirts, buttons and posters. Incidentally, that image shares the same reel of film as many images featuring Sartre and de Beauvoir in Havana.
De Beauvoir later wrote: “Well-known performers danced or sang in the squares to swell the fund; pretty girls in their carnival fancy dresses, led by a band, went through the streets making collections.”It’s the honeymoon of the Revolution,” Sartre said to me. No machinery, no bureaucracy, but a direct contact between leaders and people, and a mass of seething and slightly confused hopes. It wouldn’t last forever, but it was a comforting sight. For the first time in our lives, we were witnessing happiness that had been attained by violence.”
Later that year in October, Sartre and de Beauvoir returned to Cuba, but were somewhat disappointed. Fidel invited Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to visit Cuba again, and they did, but this time they weren’t so entranced. “Havana had changed; no more nightclubs, no more gambling, and no more American tourists; in the half empty Nacional Hotel, some very young members of the militia, boys and girls, were holding a conference. On every side, in the streets, the militia was drilling,” de Beauvoir wrote. The atmosphere was tense with rumors of invasion, and a notable air of repressive uniformity was seeping into Cuban life. When Sartre and de Beauvoir asked workers at clothing mill how their lives had benefited from the revolution, a union leader quickly stepped forward to speak on their behalf, parroting the government’s dogma.
Later, Sartre’s relation with Castro soured. In 1971, after Sartre had taken up the case of the imprisoned Cuban poet Herberto Padilla, he found himself being denounced by his erstwhile comrade Castro as being among the “bourgeois liberal gentleman…two bit agents of colonialism…agents of the CIA and intelligence services of imperialism” who had dared to criticize Cuba. Sartre responded with a plea to Castro to ‘spare Cuba the dogmatic obscurantism, the cultural xenophobia and the repressive system which Stalinism imposed in the socialist countries.
Sources/More to Read:
Critical Theory: Incredible Candid Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in Cuba
Wikipedia: Fidel Castro
Wikipedia: Jean-Paul Sartre
Wikipedia: Simone de Beauvoir
Wikipedia: Alberto Korda
Wikipedia: Juan Arcocha
Wikipedia: Celia Sánchez

Watts Riots, Los Angeles, 1965

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

Aug. 17, 1965: A. Z. Smith, left, begins the task of getting Smitty's Barber Shop on Beach St. back in shape following the Watts Riots. Business establishments owned by whites were the usual targets of looters and arsonists. Smith was one of the few blacks caught up in the turmoil. (photo: R. L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)

Aug. 17, 1965: A. Z. Smith, left, begins the task of getting Smitty’s Barber Shop on Beach St. back in shape following the Watts Riots. Business establishments owned by whites were the usual targets of looters and arsonists. Smith was one of the few blacks caught up in the turmoil. (photo: R. L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)

The Watts riots (or, Watts rebellion), took place in the Watts, Los Angeles neighbourhood in 1965.
On the evening of Wednesday, August 11, 1965, 21-year-old Marquette Frye, an African American man behind the wheel of his mother’s 1955 Buick, was pulled over for reckless driving by white California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Lee Minikus. After administering a field sobriety test, Minikus placed Frye under arrest and radioed for his vehicle to be impounded. Marquette’s brother Ronald, a passenger in the vehicle, walked to their house nearby, bringing their mother, Rena Price, back with him.
The situation quickly escalated: Someone shoved Price, Frye was struck, Price jumped an officer, and another officer pulled out a shotgun. Backup police officers attempted to arrest Frye by using physical force to subdue him. After rumours spread that the police had roughed Frye up and kicked a pregnant woman, angry mobs formed. As the situation intensified, growing crowds of local residents watching the exchange began yelling and throwing objects at the police officers. After the arrests of Price and the Frye brothers, the crowd continued to grow. Police came to the scene to break up the crowd several times that night but were attacked by rocks and concrete.
After a night of increasing unrest, police and local black community leaders held a community meeting on Thursday, August 12, to discuss an action plan and to urge calm; the meeting failed. The rioting intensified and on Friday, August 13, about 2,300 National Guardsmen joined the police trying to maintain order on the streets. That number increased to 3,900 by midnight on Saturday, August 14. In addition to the guardsmen, 934 Los Angeles Police officers and 718 officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were deployed during the rioting.
White Americans were fearful of the breakdown of social order in Watts; many in the black community, however, saw the rioters as taking part in an “uprising against an oppressive system.” Between 31,000 and 35,000 adults participated in the riots over the course of six days, while about 70,000 people were “sympathetic, but not active.” Those actively participating in the riots started physical fights with police, blocked fire-fighters of the Los Angeles Fire Department from their safety duties, or beat white motorists. Arson and looting were largely confined to white-owned stores and businesses that were said to have caused resentment in the neighbourhood due to perceived unfairness. Over the six days, there were 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over €35 million in property damage. The riots were blamed principally on unemployment, although a later investigation also highlighted police racism. It was the city’s worst unrest until the Rodney King riots of 1992.
Marquette Frye, who smoked and drank heavily, died of pneumonia on December 20, 1986; he was 42. His mother, Rena Price, died on June 10, 2013, at 97. She never recovered the impounded 1955 Buick in which her son had been pulled over for driving while intoxicated on that fateful night of August 11, 1965, because the storage fees exceeded the car’s value.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: Watts riots
L.A.Times: 50 years later, images from the Watts riots still startle
Vintage Every Day: Life in Watts a Year After the 1965 Riots
Στα Ελληνικά:
Soft magazine: Wattstax Music Festival – Το Μαύρο Woodstock

Citizen’s Military Training Camp, Maryland, 1922

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Citizens' Military Training Camp, Fort Meade, Maryland (August 21, 1922)

Citizens’ Military Training Camp, Fort Meade, Maryland (August 21, 1922)

Citizens’ Military Training Camps (CMTC) were military training programs of the United States, held annually each summer during the years 1921 to 1940. The purpose of CMTC’s was to train young men (17 to 30 y.o) for thirty days in order to promote citizenship, patriotism and Americanism, as well as benefit the young men individually and instil a sense of obligation to the country through physical, athletic, and military training. Those interested filed an application, which included a medical fitness statement, and a certificate of good moral character signed by a prominent citizen such as a member of the clergy, current or former officers of the armed forces, or a schoolteacher.
The program consisted of four training levels: Basic, Red, White, and Blue. There was no obligation to join the regular service, but opportunities did exist to do so.
The largest number of CMTC participants in the III Corps area, which included men from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, trained at Camp Meade, Maryland. In 1923, about 4,000 attended Camp Meade, and the number remained high in 1940 at approximately 3,000. CMTC camps held at about 50 Army posts nationally. At their peak in 1928 and 1929, about 40,000 men received training, but as a whole the camps were a disappointment at their multiplicity of stated goals, but particularly in the commissioning of Reserve officers.
The photographic album containing the series was provided by Cronhardt and Son from Baltimore, Maryland, and depicts various activities that occurred at the Camp Meade CMTC, including rifle shooting instruction and practice; physical exams; marching; artillery practice; and cavalry training.
Among known participants were Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, Robert Penn Warren, Walter S. McIlhenny, Chuck Yeager, and William Guarnere.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Citizens’ Military Training Camp
Ghosts of DC: The Citizens’ Military Training Camp
US National Archives
Buy a Print:
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Frederick Douglass, ca. 1850


Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Frederick Douglass,

Frederick Douglass, “Majestic in his Wrath”, 1847-52
(photo: Samuel J. Miller / The Art Institute of Chicago)

Frederick Douglass
(born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. 1818 – 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.
He was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. He was the son of a slave woman and, probably, her white master. Around the age of eight he was sent to live with one of his owner’s relatives in Baltimore, Maryland. It was while living in Baltimore that he was mistakenly taught the first several letters of the alphabet. Those few letters opened a new world to him and began his lifelong love of language. At fifteen, the now literate Douglass was returned to the Eastern shore to work as a field hand. Here the increasingly independent teenager educated other slaves, resisted efforts to beat him, and planned a failed escape attempt. Three years later, at age 20, Douglass disguised himself as a sailor, and carrying a friend’s passport, boarded a northbound train from Baltimore. He arrived in New York City and declared himself a free man, adopting the name of the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake”.
For 16 years he edited an influential black newspaper and achieved international fame as an inspiring and persuasive speaker and writer. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

“Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom.”

His three autobiographies are considered important works of the slave narrative tradition as well as classics of American autobiography. He described his experiences as a slave in his 1845 autobiography: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, which became a bestseller and influential in supporting abolition, as did the second: “My Bondage and My Freedom” (1855). After the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography: “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass”.
A firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant, Douglass famously said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” In thousands of speeches and editorials, he levied a powerful indictment against slavery and racism, provided an indomitable voice of hope for his people, embraced antislavery politics and preached his own brand of American ideals. Douglass also actively supported women’s suffrage, and held several public offices.

In 1839 Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre announced the perfection of the daguerreotype, a photographic process that employed a silver-coated copperplate sensitive to light. This new artistic process was celebrated for its remarkably sharp detail and praised as a “democratic art” that brought portraiture into reach for the masses. Within a few years, thousands of daguerrean portrait studios had sprung up all over the United States, among them the one that Samuel J. Miller owned in Akron, Ohio. Although most of the likenesses made in commercial studios were formulaic and not very revealing of the subject’s character, this portrait of Frederick Douglass is a striking exception. Northeastern Ohio was a center of Abolitionism prior to the Civil War, and Douglass knew that this picture, one of an astonishing number that he commissioned or posed for, would be seen by ardent supporters of his campaign to end slavery. Douglass was an intelligent manager of his public image and likely guided Miller in projecting his intensity and sheer force of character. As a result, this portrait demonstrates that Douglass truly appeared “majestic in his wrath,” as the nineteenth-century feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton observed.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Wikipedia: Frederick Douglass
Wikipedia: Daguerreotype
History: Frederick Douglass
History Is A Weapon: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”. A speech given at Rochester, New York, by Frederick Douglass on July 5, 1852

Ο Φρέντερικ Ντάγκλας γεννήθηκε σκλάβος σε μια φυτεία του Mαίρυλαντ στις ΗΠΑ, το 1818. Σε ηλικία 8 χρονών, βρέθηκε σε μια άλλη φυτεία στη Βαλτιμόρη. Παρόλο που ο νόμος απαγόρευε στους σκλάβους να μάθουν να διαβάζουν, η γυναίκα του αφεντικού, παράτυπα, του έμαθε ανάγνωση. Η κοινή πεποίθηση στις Νότιες Πολιτείες ήταν ότι, αν οι σκλάβοι αντιλαμβάνονταν τη θέση τους, τότε θα ζητούσαν την ελευθερία τους.
Ο Ντάγκλας, άρχισε κρυφά να διαβάζει ό,τι έπεφτε στα χέρια του και σύντομα  προσπάθησε να μάθει ανάγνωση και στους υπόλοιπους δούλους. Στα 20 του χρόνια δραπέτευσε στη Νέα Υόρκη και από τότε αφοσιώθηκε στην εξάλειψη της δουλείας, με τη χαρακτηριστική ρήση: “Η γνώση είναι ο δρόμος από τη σκλαβιά στην ελευθερία”. Στα επόμενα χρόνια αναδείχθηκε σε έναν από τους μεγαλύτερους ρήτορες και υπερασπιστές των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων, εκδίδοντας εφημερίδες, δίνοντας διαλέξεις και γράφοντας τρεις αυτοβιογραφίες που θεωρούνται κλασσικές στην Αμερικάνικη λογοτεχνία. Πέθανε το 1895, μετά από μια ομιλία του για την χειραφέτηση των γυναικών.

Στα μέσα του 19ου αι., τα φωτογραφικά πορτραίτα που γίνονταν με τη νέα εντυπωσιακή μέθοδο της δαγκεροτυπίας ήταν πολύ δημοφιλή. Ωστόσο, τα περισσότερα ήταν τυποποιημένα κι αδιάφορα, και δεν απεικόνιζαν το χαρακτήρα του εικονιζόμενου. Όμως, οι φωτογραφίες  που έβγαλε ο Ντάγκλας πριν τον Αμερικάνικο Εμφύλιο, στο Βορειοανατολικό Οχάϊο, το προπύργιο των πολέμιων της δουλείας, ήταν εξαίρεση. Ο Ντάγκλας ήξερε να χειρίζεται άριστα τη δημόσια εικόνα του και ήθελε τα πορτραίτα του να δημιουργούν μια συγκεκριμένη εντύπωση στους οπαδούς του. Σ’ αυτό το πορτραίτο, καθοδήγησε τον φωτογράφο του, Σάμουελ Μίλλερ, έτσι ώστε να απεικονίσει το δυναμισμό του χαρακτήρα του.  Η Ελίζαμπεθ Στάντον, γνωστή φεμινίστρια της εποχής, εύστοχα έδωσε στη φωτογραφία τον τίτλο : “Μεγαλοπρεπής στο θυμό του”.

Eleftherios Venizelos, Prime Minister of Greece, 1914

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

E. Venizelos, 1914 (Agence Meurisse / Bibliotheque nationale de France)

E. Venizelos, Paris, 1914 (Agence Meurisse / Bibliotheque nationale de France)

Eleftherios Venizelos (1864 – 1936) was an eminent Greek leader of the Greek national liberation movement and a charismatic statesman of the early 20th century remembered for his promotion of liberal-democratic policies. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece, serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932, Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being “the maker of modern Greece”, and is still widely known as the “Ethnarch”.
His first entry into the international scene was with his significant role in the autonomy of the Cretan State and later in the union of Crete with Greece. Soon, he was invited to Greece to resolve the political deadlock and became the country’s Prime Minister. Not only did he initiate constitutional and economic reforms that set the basis for the modernization of Greek society, but also reorganized both army and navy in preparation of future conflicts. Before the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Venizelos’ catalytic role helped gain Greece entrance to the Balkan League, an alliance of the Balkan states against Ottoman Turkey. Through his diplomatic acumen, Greece doubled her area and population with the liberation of Macedonia, Epirus, and the rest of the Aegean islands.
In World War I (1914–1918), he brought Greece on the side of the Allies, further expanding the Greek borders. However, his pro-Allied foreign policy brought him in direct conflict with the monarchy, causing the National Schism. The Schism polarized the population between the royalists and Venizelists and the struggle for power between the two groups afflicted the political and social life of Greece for decades. Following the Allied victory, Venizelos secured new territorial gains, especially in Anatolia, coming close to realizing the Megali Idea. Despite his achievements, Venizelos was defeated in the 1920 General Election, which contributed to the eventual Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). Venizelos, in self-imposed exile, represented Greece in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, and the agreement of a mutual exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.
In his subsequent periods in office Venizelos succeeded in restoring normal relations with Greece’s neighbors and expanded his constitutional and economical reforms. In 1935 Venizelos resurfaced from retirement to support a military coup and its failure severely weakened the Second Hellenic Republic, the republic he had created.
c2321bIn December 1891 Venizelos married Maria Katelouzou. Their married life was short and marked by misfortune. Maria died of post-puerperal fever in November 1894 after the birth of their second child. Her death deeply affected Venizelos and as sign of mourning he grew his characteristic beard and mustache, which he retained for the rest of his life.
In September 1921, twenty seven years after the death of his first wife Maria, he married Helena Stephanovich-Schilizzi in London. Advised by police to be wary of assassination attempts, they held the religious ceremony in private at Witanhurst, the mansion of family friend.
On 13 of March 1936, when he was in Paris, he suffered a stroke and died five days later. His body was taken by the destroyer “Pavlos Kountouriotis” to Chania, avoiding Athens in order not to cause unrest. A great ceremony with wide public attendance accompanied his burial at Akrotiri, Crete.
Wikipedia (english),   Wikipedia (greek)
Bibliotheque nationale de France

Ο Ελευθέριος K. Βενιζέλος (Μουρνιές Χανίων, 1864 – Παρίσι, 1936) ήταν Έλληνας πολιτικός που διετέλεσε πρωθυπουργός της Κρητικής Πολιτείας και εφτά φορές πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας. Ως πολιτικός διαδραμάτισε σημαντικό ρόλο στο Κρητικό ζήτημα καθώς και στα πολιτικά δρώμενα της Ελλάδας από το 1910 μέχρι και τον θάνατό του.
Οργάνωσε την επανάσταση στο Θέρισο και το 1910 ανέλαβε την πρωθυπουργία της Κρητικής Πολιτείας, την οποία εγκατέλειψε λίγους μήνες αργότερα για να αναλάβει την πρωθυπουργία στην Ελλάδα κατόπιν προσκλήσεως του Στρατιωτικού Συνδέσμου. Από την έναρξη του Α΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου τάχθηκε υπέρ της Αντάντ διαφωνώντας ανοιχτά με την στάση του Βασιλιά. Λόγω αυτής της διαφωνίας, αν και είχε εκλεγεί πρωθυπουργός εκδιώχθηκε με απόφαση του Βασιλιά Κωνσταντίνου Α΄ δημιουργώντας τα γεγονότα του Εθνικού Διχασμού. Επέστρεψε στην πρωθυπουργία την περίοδο 1917 – 1920 αλλά εγκατέλειψε την Ελλάδα μετά την ήττα του στις εκλογές του Νοεμβρίου 1920. Επέστρεψε το 1924 για λίγους μήνες και το 1928 εξελέγη πρωθυπουργός. Τον Ιανουάριο του 1935 έγινε για τελευταία φορά πρωθυπουργός και τον Μάρτιο του ίδιου χρόνου μετά την απόπειρα πραξικοπήματος κατέφυγε στο Παρίσι, όπου και πέθανε.
Ως πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας επέφερε μεταρρυθμίσεις σχεδόν σε όλους τους τομείς του κράτους με κύριο σκοπό την οργάνωση της χώρας στα πρότυπα αστικού κράτους. Παράλληλα οργάνωσε αξιόμαχο στρατό, τον οποίο εκμεταλλεύθηκε στις πολεμικές συρράξεις, διπλασιάζοντας την εδαφική έκταση της Ελλάδας.
Το 1890 παντρεύτηκε την Μαρία Κατελούζου. Τέσσερα χρόνια αργότερα, η σύζυγος του πέθανε από επιλόχειο πυρετό μετά τη γέννηση του δεύτερου τους παιδιού. Σε ένδειξη πένθους άφησε τη χαρακτηριστική γενειάδα και μουστάκι για τα υπόλοιπα χρόνια της ζωής του. Το 1921 παντρεύτηκε την Έλενα Στεφάνοβιτς-Σκυλίτση, στο Λονδίνο.
Πέθανε το Μάρτιο του 1936, στο Παρίσι, μετά από εγκεφαλικό επεισόδιο. Το αντιτορπιλικό Κουντουριώτης μετέφερε τη σωρό του στα Χανιά, για να ταφεί με τιμές στο Ακρωτήρι.

Madame Nhu, the “Dragon Lady”, 1962


Color by Manos Athanasiadis

Madame Nhu, the "Dragon Lady" (Larry Burrows - LIFE /Getty Images), 1962

Madame Nhu, the “Dragon Lady” (Larry Burrows – LIFE /Getty Images), 1962

Trần Lệ Xuân (22 August 1924 – 24 April 2011), known as Madame Nhu, was wife of Ngo Dinh Nhu, brother of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, and the de facto First Lady of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963.
Raised a Buddhist, Madame Nhu had converted to Catholicism when she married, and took to it with a convert’s zeal. She rammed a bill through parliament that outlawed divorce, abortion and contraception. Describing the craze for dancing the twist as an “unhealthy activity”, she had it banned as well. Wrestling, cock fighting and boxing soon followed on the list of forbidden activities. She had laws passed that ended concubinage and polygamy. Divorce was only allowed by presidential decree, but that ended the power Vietnamese men had held to shed their wives on a whim. During Diem’s rule, women achieved something close to parity with men.
To aid South Vietnam’s fight against the communist insurgency, she founded a women’s paramilitary, known as the Women’s Solidarity Movement. In this picture she fires a pistol during a visit to an officer training session.
Madame Nhu was frequently mocked by the media for her ostentatious flaunting of power, and called the “Dragon Lady”. She once stated “Power is wonderful. Total power is totally wonderful.”
When a Buddhist monk burned himself alive protesting the Diem regime’s corruption and repression of Buddhists, she wrote in a letter to the New York Times “I would clap hands at seeing another monk barbecue show, for one cannot be responsible for the madness of others”. She further offered to provide more fuel and matches for the Buddhists.
On 2 November 1963 when she was in USA on a public relations tour, looking political and financial support for the dictatorship, her husband and Diem were assassinated in a coup d’état led by General Dương Văn Minh. Her children were allowed to leave Saigon and join her in Paris, where she began her exile.  She soon disappeared from the limelight only to make a brief reappearance in 1975, when South Vietnam finally fell to the communist North. She claimed none of that would have happened if the Ngo clan had remained in power.
The Guardian

Η Trần Lệ Xuân, γνωστή και ως Madame Nhu, προερχόταν από μια πλούσια και αριστοκρατική οικογένεια με μεγάλη πολιτική ισχύ, από την εποχή που το Βιετνάμ ήταν ακόμα αποικία της Γαλλίας.
Ενώ γεννήθηκε Βουδίστρια, έγινε Καθολική όταν παντρεύτηκε τον Ngo Dinh Nhu, αδελφό του προέδρου του Βιετνάμ, Ngo Dinh Diem. Καθώς ο πρόεδρος ήταν ανύπαντρος, αυτή θεωρούνταν η de facto πρώτη κυρία της χώρας.
Η θέση και η άκρατη φιλοδοξία της την έκαναν την πιο ισχυρή γυναίκα της Ασίας από το 1955 ως το 1963. Χαρακτηριστική ήταν η δήλωση της: “Η εξουσία είναι υπέροχη. Η απόλυτη εξουσία είναι απόλυτα υπέροχη.”
Οι ακραίες της θέσεις και απόψεις, που δεν έχανε ευκαιρία να τις εκφράζει δημόσια χωρίς να υπολογίζει τις συνέπειες, την έφερναν συχνά αντιμέτωπη με φίλους και εχθρούς. Έτσι, σύντομα απέκτησε το παρωνύμιο “Γυναίκα Δράκος”.
Ως φανατική Καθολική, πέρασε νόμους που απαγόρευαν την άμβλωση, το διαζύγιο, την αντισύλληψη, τη συμβίωση και την πολυγαμία. Επίσης, ανάμεσα στ’ άλλα, απαγόρευσε το χορό “τουίστ”, την πάλη, το μποξ και τις κοκορομαχίες. Ωστόσο, χάρη σ’ αυτήν, η θέση της γυναίκας αναβαθμίστηκε σημαντικά στην αυστηρά ανδροκρατούμενη κοινωνία του Βιετνάμ.
Η απέχθεια της για τους Βουδιστές και τους Κομμουνιστές, δεν ήταν κάτι που προσπάθησε να κρύψει. Δημιούργησε μια γυναικεία παραστρατιωτική οργάνωση, το Κίνημα Αλληλεγγύης Γυναικών, για την αντιμετώπιση του κομμουνιστικού κινδύνου. Στη φωτογραφία ρίχνει μια βολή με πιστόλι, κατά τη διάρκεια της επίσκεψης της στο στρατόπεδο εκπαίδευσης της οργάνωσης.
Όταν το 1963 ένας Βουδιστής μοναχός, αυτοπυρπολήθηκε ως ένδειξη διαμαρτυρίας για το καταπιεστικό και διεφθαρμένο καθεστώς, δήλωσε “πρόθυμη να χειροκροτήσει ακόμα ένα μπάρμπεκιου σόου” και προσφέρθηκε να προμηθεύσει τους μοναχούς βενζίνη και σπίρτα.
Οι προκλητικές της δηλώσεις συχνά άγγιζαν και τους πολιτικούς “φίλους” του καθεστώτος, δημιουργώντας διπλωματικά επεισόδια. Οι Αμερικάνοι ζητούσαν να σωπάσει επιτέλους και απειλούσαν να διακόψουν την οικονομική βοήθεια αν δεν φύγει από την πολιτική ζωή.
Το 1963, όταν η Μαντάμ Νου, βρισκόταν σε περιοδεία στις Η.Π.Α. για την πολιτική και οικονομική υποστήριξη του καθεστώτος, έγινε πραξικόπημα στο Βιετνάμ. Ο πρόεδρος Ντιέμ και ο άντρας της δολοφονήθηκαν. Κατηγόρησε ευθέως τις Η.Π.Α.: “Όποιος έχει φίλους τους Αμερικάνους δεν χρειάζεται εχθρούς”.
Μη μπορώντας πλέον να γυρίσει στη χώρα της, πέρασε τα χρόνια της εξορίας στην Ευρώπη.
Ξεχασμένη πλέον από την Ιστορία, η “Γυναίκα Δράκος” πέθανε το 2011 στη Ρώμη, .

Η Monique Brinson Demery έγραψε ένα ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο γι αυτήν: “Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Vietnam’s Madame Nhu