Dead SS man in the canal

Article

July 6, 2022

"Dead SS Prison Guard Floating in Canal", "Dead SS Guard in Canal Water", "Dead SS Prison Guard in Canal" (Eng. Dead SS Prison Guard Floating in Canal, Dachau, Germany) - black and white photograph by American war correspondent Lee Miller , created in April 1945 near the Dachau concentration camp. During World War II, the former model and surrealist artist became a war correspondent for the publishing house Condé Nast while working for Vogue magazine. In particular, she filmed the liberation of the Dachau and Auschwitz camps. Later, many of her photographs were included by her son Anthony Penrose in the book Lee Miller's War. The style of her military work differed from other colleagues, who often filmed in a documentary, accusatory, dramatic, pathetic manner. For her, it was more typical to work in a "slightly detached, sometimes slightly ironic manner." Her photographs are marked by a sense of outward "serenity", thoughtful compositional decisions, but also shocking to the viewer, like more traditional war photojournalists. Regarding her participation in 1945 filming in Dachau, she said that they left an indelible impression for life: "The stench of Dachau remained in my nostrils forever." She also recalled that when visiting the concentration camps, her companions were immediately struck by the absence of birds and animals, which was regarded as a bad sign. After that, they unexpectedly found the bodies of the murdered SS men, who were "beaten to death or strangled" (see Dachau massacre). In her photograph, a dead camp guard, who died a violent death, is dressed in an SS leather jacket; it is immersed in water on its left side and slowly floats with the flow. The shot was taken from the top, at an unusual angle, which can be explained by the fact that Miller took it from the only possible place. In addition, art critic Carol King suggested that perhaps the author wanted to convey the following message to the viewer: "not everything in reality is as it seems to us." Sunlight reflects off the water, which seems to be the intention. The lower half of the corpse is not in the frame, the front of the torso is hidden by dark water. It still lacks signs of decay, indicating a recent death. The water is calm, along the bank of the canal