In 1999, an exhibition opened at the Culture Museum in the town of Osnabruck. Germany. The photographs attracted a lot of attention, because they were taken between the years 1945 – 1947 by a German officer of the Germany Army, in 3 locations of Soviet POW camps in Russia: Selenodolsk, Jelabuga and Kolstau. More interesting was the fact that the office, Klauss Sasse, took all the 90 images with his Minox Riga camera, smuggled in the camp by himself, together with the film.
Sasse shot a number of 4 rolls containing 50 exposures each, the films packed by the Latvian factory VEF in Riga, the one responsible for the apparition of the Minox Riga. The films were smuggled out of the camp and processed, but I have no idea when or where. The images were published for the first time at this conference.
It beggars belief that a German prisoner of war, being interned in a Soviet war camp known for their lack of respect for human life, was so bold and (to some point, so lucky) to engage in covert photography with a smuggled camera AND not been discovered. The Minox Riga or the films, if found on him, would’ve meant certain death, probably immediate without any hearing. The fact that he lived to tell the tale and to publish his photographs says a lot about luck, courage and, at some point probably, danger of life forfeiture.
With the appropriate observation of the copyright where is due, I am publishing some of the photographs, retrieved from the online medium. Besides the text above, nothing is my copyright.
It is but a stroke of luck that these photographs were taken and the films smuggled for them to survive and be presented to us today. This is but one example (and a brilliant one at that) about how the Minox cameras have been witnesses to the history in the making. This is what I would call a true historical camera.