Concentration Camps with the Leica Monochrom by Dan Bar

Concentration Camps with the Leica Monochrom

by Dan Bar

Hello Steve and Brandon,

It has been some time since my last photos. Anyway I spent a week in Poland intending to visit the two concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau. I decided to take the Leica Monochrom + 35 Lux 1.4 only. I first started with Birkanau ( first 5 pics) which was not easy to watch and certainly not easy to photo , yet still bearable. The long line of concrete with the holes in it is actually a latrine where they were forced to do their needs in front of the others. I then went to Auschwitz where I had to stop soon after starting my visit, simply could not face the horror . So I decided to put on only some of the sights I saw there. I hope these deeds will never ever happen again anywhere on the planet.

Thank you

Danny

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55 Comments

  1. a couple years ago I was in a Leica shop in London.
    I was admiring a 1930s 1940 Leica
    Then I remembered SS and Nazi members had Leica, I’ve seen photos of them.
    I stopped admiring.

    Leica M3 onwards I feel fine about having a Leica.

  2. Danny,
    Thank for being there and bring back photographs to us, I am 53 and so far not the courage for going in this place where almost all my family is dead.
    I’ve been at Yad Vashem and it was very difficult for me.
    Thanks.
    DS

  3. Danny,

    Nice work. While I have not been to Germany, the JCC in Dallas had brought over one of the train cars that were used to transport Jews, Gypsies and other victims of the Holocaust. Walking into the car gave you a sense of the horror that took place. It was terrible.

  4. Mankind hasn’t learned a lot in 70 years. In the Middle- East the horror continues every day. Camp Auschwitz is a horrible place, the Nazi’s took everything from the people they gassed. I was speechless.

    Looking with an objective eye at your pictures I think contrast is a little strong. I know you have to make decisions in post processing but I am missing detail in the blacks and also some gray nuances.

  5. The images are well made. I do not think the photographer should be criticised for mentioning what camera he used, as this is a site devoted to photography and gear. Of course it does not matter in most cases what camera is used, and certainly not at places like the camps in Poland – or in Gaza or Guantanamo for that matter.

  6. I like the new territory that Steve has explored the past few days. The post mortem photos and concentration camps are sensitive subject matter to some but it just goes to show that anything can be photographed and presented provided it is well done. Similar to when the late, great comedian, George Carlin said that anything can be joked about and he did so very well and often. And, as a bonus, look at all the entertaining comments there are to read. Some people show their ignorance and others raise points to ponder.

  7. That’s a story every company wants to tell. I only believe that to individuals, not generically. Not leica, but a specific person risked their family’s life…
    We all could be sucked into such satanic circumstance, as we continue to disrespect others, their habits, cultures, countries, assets. Some more some less, some unintentionally, but we’re all part of one or the other ignorant system.

    Nice photos. I get his story, approach, and feel, partly at least.

    • Hi Carl
      I can assure you i am not lightminded.
      i am a very serious person, and i have an M.D and D.M.D degrees. If you dont know what that means than i am a Medical Doctor and a Dentist
      Does that answer your question?

  8. Its very hard to find any positives about such issues as are depicted in these images. -but somewhere I heard that during the war Leica in Germany tried to move their Jewish employees overseas to escape the Nazis. Not sure if this is true or if so how many people survived but I hope it is true.
    Like the last poster I feel people should think carefully before they post frivolous comments -they simply are not appropriate.

    Best Wishes

  9. Thankyou. We need to be reminded from time to time in case we don’t do our own remembering (a) that it happened and (b) that it goes on and (c) that even victims can become oppressors. I agree that you’ve captured the darkness very soberly: thanks for daring and sharing.

  10. Sobering photos, and very well done. Places of moral and historical significance are difficult to photograph. You’ve captured the darkness. As for the ridiculous comments, I’m so embarrassed it sadly may prevent me from visiting this site anymore. If this site weren’t censored, the string of expletives I’d level against comments like the one about the cost of the camera and the photos being “ok” would be pretty lengthy. I’m so weary of internet trolls who sit in judgement. Of course all we “need” is an iPhone. The fact that the writer used his Monochrom is secondary – but it’s relevant (as is the title), because regardless of cost it’s a strong black and white camera, and appropriate for a place like this. Where do you people get off being like this? Complete idiocy – that’s the gentlest way I can express my disappointment. The posting was thoughtful, with good photos and emotional content; it was obviously a moving experience. And clowns like you are making digs at things like camera price. Go away. Please.

    • Wow Jon Thank you .
      When i sent those photos to Steve and Brandon i knew i will get some unpleasant comments.
      To read your comment was like a fresh breeze to me.
      It was not easy to take those photos and as i said i sipmly could not finish my tour in Auchwitz.
      I dont understand the anti Leica comments, as if it matters
      Thank you again

  11. Well first, Auschwitz is not a concentration camp, it is an extermination camp (and it makes a big difference).
    Second point, doing pictures in such places is particularly difficult because it gives a picture very reductionist of what it was!
    Michael Kenna tried, and made certainly is worth pictures there, there is no esthetism possible in such place (unless you ignore what is an extermination camp, then go and read before, I would suggest , Primo Levi, Imre Kertes…). May be then you will understand that writting is much more powerfull than photography to relate the place.
    Third, may be the photograph (and may be also , a bit of jalousy) in me speaks, I don’t see the specificity of the monochrom and the leica touch in your pictures.

    • You make some very good points Enrok.

      I am a passionate photographer and intend to visit Auschwitz one day, but I will be leaving the camera at the hotel room. I couldn’t imagine myself considering composition, aesthetics or even documentation in such a place …only the experience, which I imagine will be overwhelming.

  12. This is a subject that doesn’t lend itself to the usual internet frivolousness.

    I can see what Dan’s intention was and I think he succeeded in conveying the bewildering onset of emotions like sadness, incomprehension, regret and fury that visiting such a place inevitably brings on.

    I find the images that contain humans most impressive because of the play with light, even though the treatment of contrast appears a little different from the others.

  13. hey Dean Iowes and Lion of the Blogosphere, why the unfriendly comments? Sure, you don’t need a Leica to get these kind of shots, but if the guy enjoys using it and can afford it, good for him! I don’t see anything strange about the title of the post…?

      • No it does not
        Nor do all the people who drive fancy cars, wear fancy cloths. Live in fancy houses
        You can shoot with what you want
        Fine with me

    • What? That’s the camera he already owns. Is he supposed to buy a new camera because he’s taking this trip? Would color please you more, or just a less expensive camera? Certainly a $600 Ricoh GR camera would have sufficed. But, so what? Deal with the images that were shared or let’s call for a change in policy that prevents anyone from saying what camera they are using. Frankly, I would like to know what camera and lenses–or film–is being used. Viewing this site, I’ve noticed that each camera model seems to produce an digital image that is somewhat different from the others. Some I like, others I don’t (ignoring post-processing, of course). The nature of the image being shared would make for an interesting discussion, not the price or brand name per se.

    • Yes i thought i’ll get such stupid comments.
      Try and imagine people launching hundreds of missiles at your home , kids and parents
      I would certainly love to take photos of your response to such acts

      • Stupid comments?
        Jews has no rights to be in Palestinian land. No rights to exist at that area what so ever. Jews doesn’t want to talk about their history BEFORE WW2. Rest of the world has learned and experienced the WW2 but Jews are there again to start a third one. Jews has killed tens of millions of civilians since WW2 but world should only see how Jews are killed by Palestine’s rockets.

        Again spreading the propaganda how Jews were the “Victim”. It was not a one man who killed Jews, it was hundreds of millions who have started to hate Jews because what they are and what they have done since WW2. Only because they can’t learn their lesson and move on, but continue terrorizing the world and claiming to have rights to others lands and do to others that what they so much whine been done to them.

        Sure there was child’s and innocents, but today Jews don’t care about those either. Jews today are not better than Nazies were to them.

        Say what you say about stupid comments, Count Leiz would throw Jews back to those camps if it would know what they do today.

  14. Having “Concentrations Camps” and “Leica” in the same sentence destroys seriousness of this place and… post. Please tell the story of the place before you post the pictures, a lot to tell about.
    Good that you came here tho, even the best photos of this place will not picture how sad, depressing and full of grief this mass murder place is.

    • That could be said of come companies, but not Leica. Between Kristallnacht and the beginning of World War II, the Leitz family helped hundreds to escape from Germany. The company’s efforts are today known as the “Leica Freedom Train.”

      To Dan, your work is superb.

    • Thank you Brian
      As you know i am an Israeli and Jewish. Germany today is one of our best friends in the world.
      I agree it is a German camera but you dont know the story behind it.
      Count Leitz saved alot of jews during the war.He risked his life and his familly, infact his daughter was once arrested. sending dozens of jews to america and other countries, telling the germans they were Leica reporters. and infact the people wating for them in those countries knew who they were as the wore Leica cameras on their necks
      He is well admired in Israel.
      When i was in Leica factory i gace them a hebrew article ,translated to German about him.
      So my friend you should change your thoughts.
      Leica was the most suitable camera!!!!!!!! in those camps

  15. I recently visited the Dachau camp and the atmosphere was so heavy with grief I felt like crying just standing there. Your photos depict it very well. Thanks

      • What has the title to do with my photos and what i wanted to show.
        You did not say anything about it.
        Just the title……wow

        • Hey Danny,

          Your title has EVERYTHING to do with the photos, because of the context.

          I wasn’t criticizing your photography or the post per se. I just thought the title was too simplistic, considering the overwhelming emotional force of the subject matter.

          As another commenter mentioned, Auschwitz was actually an extermination camp, so there is really no way of broaching the topic, without considering the overwhelming sorrow associated with both the name and place. So in that regard, I felt that the gravitas of the subject warranted something more poignant and could have spoke of your personal experience, rather than simply name checking ‘Subject + Camera brand’. After all, we are talking about one of the deepest tragedies in recorded history, so for that I don’t think I am being too critical.

          I also thought the camera brand didn’t need a mention in the title, as it somehow diminishes the dignity of the post. Maybe it’s because the world has become such a slave to branding and marketing …that nothing seems sacred any more. I realize your title was NOT an advert or exercise in branding and just a reference to your chosen photographic tools, but once again it was about the context and subject matter.

          In hindsight, I guess my comment was also too simplistic and I should have mentioned other more positive aspects about your post, such as your written words and suitably sombre photos. You’re a brave man to even visit these sites and your inability to continue on the tour illustrates that you were greatly affected by the experience.

          Clearly, you’re a considerate person and weren’t being intentionally flippant in title of the post. We all deal with tragedy in different ways, so I think I was just affected by my initial reading of the title and let my emotions get the better of me by ‘judging a book by its cover’. So if I have caused you or any readers any offense then I apologize.

          Mea culpa.

  16. Wonderful work -we must always remember history be it good or bad and here photography has a powerful part to play !

  17. You wield that tool impressively and certainly have a great eye. But it’s important to remember that these things ARE still going on around the world as we speak. This was a terrible terrible thing that we must remember for sure, but there are some areas in this world that still are backwards in their operation. Once again, great photos. Always love seeing what someone can achieve with such an amazing tool.

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