Hitler materializes in lost family trip negatives found at thrift store

Illustration for article titled Hitler materializes in lost family trip negatives found at thrift store

Mat Ames found some negatives in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia. After digitizing them, a lot of the photos seemed to belong to a couple's vacation in Naples, Italy, in 1938. Among all the scenic Italian vignettes there was a creepy surprise—a sinister figure sitting in a car under the sun. It was Adolf Hitler.

In 2013 I found several rolls of negatives in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia. They were standard 35mm, black and white and some of the rolls were clearly nitrate film. The film was still supple so I had the rolls digitized the following day. Much to my surprise the film included photographs of Hitler and King Emmanuel on parade, other Nazi images from Naples, Italy in the Spring of 1938, numerous photos of Naples city life, a Mobil Oil plant there, Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and photos of Manhattan. I've presented the images at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia; discussing steps to understanding found artifacts. There are over 400 images in the collection, these are just a few. I still don't know who took the photographs.

Illustration for article titled Hitler materializes in lost family trip negatives found at thrift store

The mysterious couple. One of them may have worked for Mobil Oil.

I can perfectly imagine Mat's face when he first saw those two photos featuring one of the bloodiest killers in the history of humanity, happily enjoying the sun in a parade. One year later, he invaded Poland and started World War II. Damn Nazis. They ruin everything.

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Check out the rest of Mat's photos here.

Via Philip Bump


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DISCUSSION

The story itself is cool, if not the cast. Anything is possible even in /famous people popping up in photographs, The cameraman Neil Davis filmed his own unexpected death in Thailand in 1985 for example.

Years after leaving school I unexpectedly walked past my best friend from high school in the middle of India, so anything is possible.

However the one nagging thought going through my brain is this:

images from Naples, Italy in the Spring of 1938. Keeping out of the sun you say?