A German soldier returns home to Frankfurt am Main after the end of the War, 1946.

A German soldier returns home to Frankfurt am Main after the end of the War, 1946.

The photo of a German prisoner of war returning to his home town of Frankfurt to discover his house bombed and his family no longer there, shows the kind the depressing moments of dejected subjects we associate with images of war.

No stranger to scenes of despair, the photographer Tony Vaccaro caught the defeated man in the throes of grief, as the bombed shells of former houses loom eerily behind him. It’s a unimaginable pain, to be pulled into a war that would scar a country for generations to come and then to return home, seeking relief after all the hell you went through, to find no one there. He having thought of them time and time again just driving himself to get home safe. Evoked here is a quiet grief, a silent inner turmoil raging within the man shattered by the overwhelming news of his loved ones.

(Photo credit: Tony Vaccaro).