On 30 April 1945, Lee Miller arrived at the Dachau death camp, drawn in by the stink. Her photographs bear witness to the horror of mass murder, demonic rape and mutilation. Miller’s pictures relay the humanity in what Primo Levi called “the demolition of a man”.
Miller and David Scherman then journeyed to 16 Prinzregentenplatz. This is where Hitler had lived since the late 1920s. They washed in his bathtub, photographing each other. They had not washed for days. It feels a little trite to note the link between the mud from Dachau they washed from their bodies and the humdrum bathroom where the leader of dissatisfied legions also bathed. But there it is. A link in filth.
This woman was being interrogated before being publicly shamed as a collaborator. For Miller, hair was important. At the Imperial War Museum, this picture can be seen alongside a photograph of a female member of the FFI (Forces françaises de l’intérieur) who sports an extremely elaborate hairstyle. For the resistance, such styles sent a message of defiance: those who wore them were wasting their occupiers’ resources.