Himmler and a prisoner locked in a staring contest: The Defiance

By RHP | Posted on: December 24, 2013 | Updated on: December 24, 2013
This is what defiance looks like. Himmler and the prisoner, 1941.

This is what defiance looks like. Himmler and the prisoner, 1941.

The February 2010 Telegraph Obituary published a photograph captioned “Greasley confronting Heinrich Himmler (wearing the spectacles) in the PoW camp”. The photograph and its description has subsequently been republished by other news sources. The photograph comes from Himmler’s visit to a Shirokaya Street POW camp in Minsk, USSR taken in August 1941. Additional photographs from the visit as well as film footage of Himmler’s visit shows more of the camp as well as the events before and after the famous picture was taken.

The shirtless man in the photograph is not Horace Greasley but an unnamed Soviet POW wearing a standard-issue Red Army “pilotka” side-cap. When interviewed by the Leicester Mercury, the historian Guy Walters said that he “had no doubt whatsoever” that the man in the photograph was not Greasley.

Heinrich Himmler was one of the chief architects of the holocaust, Hitler’s #1 right-hand man, chief of the Gestapo and oversaw all concentration camps, probably the most evil Nazi. You had to be a hard man to look Himmler in the face like that. This is standing for what’s right, this is a single man who, after losing so much, stands up and stares Himmler himself. This image is defiance.

Colorization version.

Category: WW2

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