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July 21: The Woman in Hitler’s Bathtub

July 20, 2015
miller-wellPoughkeepsie-born model and photographer Lee Miller (not Jewish), who teamed up with her Jewish lover, photographer David E. Scherman, to produce some of the most memorable photographs from the end of World War II in Europe in Life magazine, died at 70 on this date in 1977. After taking photographs of the recently liberated Dachau concentration camp, Miller and Scherman happened upon Adolf Hitler’s abandoned apartment at 16 Prinzenregentplatz in Munich and camped out there for several days. Among their most famous pictures is one showing Miller in Hitler’s bathtub on April 30, 1945, the day the Fuehrer committed suicide. (Miller also photographed Scherman in the tub, see below.) Miller was an adventurous photographer and a glamorous figure who had been lovers with Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitsky), Charlie Chaplin, and Pablo Picasso. She eventually became a bohemian British aristocrat by marriage. “I was living in Hitler’s private apartment when his death was announced, midnight of Mayday... Well, alright, he was dead. He’d never really been alive to me until today. He’d been an evil-machine-monster all these years, until I visited the places he made famous, talked to people who knew him, dug into backstairs gossip and ate and slept in his house. He became less fabulous and therefore more terrible, along with a little evidence of his having some almost human habits; like an ape who embarrasses and humbles you with his gestures, mirroring yourself in caricature.” —Lee Miller David Scherman in Hitler's Bath