Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/11/24

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Subject: Re: A room for everybody
From: Alan Bearden <>
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 08:41:31 -0800

At 08:56 AM 6/24/96 +0200, you wrote:
>Leitz, a German company, continued producing cameras and lenses during the
>Nazi years. No doubt. (snipped)
>Leitz also gave Leica's to German Jews to help them financially in getting
>out of the country. Many personal relations of Leica managers, specially
>with friends in the USA and in the UK were cut off. This was an important
>issue as Haus Friedwart in Wetzlar, where Ernst Leitz II lived, was a place
>were not only business relations but also many artists of those days stayed.
>After the war, the denazification process at Leitz was rapid
>All in all, I don't think that the fact that the Neurenberg crowd
>photographed with Leica's meant that the Leitz Wetzlar people were close to
>these sicko's.
>Gerard Captijn,
>Geneva, Switzerland.
>                   CH-1009 PULLY
- ---------

Yes, I am personally acquainted with the use of Leica cameras as a means for 
German Jews to take something of value out of the country -- no money, gold,
diamonds, etc. were allowed.  The very first Leica I used (IIIa) was one a
Jewish physicist gave my father in exchange for a year's lodging in 1935-36.
I used this camera and an assortment of screw mount lenses 'til I sold it for an
M3 in 1956.

Both Leitz and Agfa management were very responsible in helping Jews escape the
Nazi menance in the 1930s; Agfa even assigned some of its Jewish people to their
operations in other countries (Agfa/Ansco, Agfa India, Agfa UK, etc.).

I think associated Leica with Nazi horrors is akin to blaming Beethoven for

Let's get back to Leicas and most importantly, improving our photography
through understanding our tools.

Alan Bearden