Lee Miller in Hitler’s Bathtub

lee-miller

Lee Miller was covering WWII for Vogue, and working alongside David E. Scherman, a Life staffer. Scherman took the above photo of Miller in the bathtub of Adolf Hitler’s house in Munich — the very house where Neville Chamberlain had signed away Czechoslovakia six long years earlier. The photo was taken on the night after the duo visited Dachau, on April 30, 1945 — earlier in the day, Hitler had committed suicide in Berlin.

As far as contact sheets are concerned, the full set wasn’t available. A missing shot allegedly showed Miller undressing and getting into the tub, and was burnt in the darkroom (In 1973, an artist named Spencer Anthony tried to recreate it in an art piece called “It cries itself to sleep”). 

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The surviving prints reveals that Miller and Scherman took seven shots, including two where the roles were reversed: Scherman as the subject, and Miller as the photographer. Miller had a specific composition in mind, even moving Hitler’s photo from the reading room to take up a visible position on the left edge of the bath. Scherman described it as a “leisurely, overdue bath,” and Miller herself recalled years later: “I washed the dirt of Dachau off in his tub.”

Scherman slept in Hitler’s bed, and Miller also had her picture taken at the Führer’s desk. The resulting photoessay, titled ‘Hitleriana’ appeared in the British edition of Vogue in July 1945 and opened with Miller’s shot of the Berchtesgarten, Hitler’s mountain retreat, in flames. Another posed image followed: of a G.I. reading Mein Kampf on a sofa and using Hitler’s mobile ‘hotline’ before the bathtub picture.

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0 thoughts on “Lee Miller in Hitler’s Bathtub

  1. There is an old bathtub in the basement of the former Führerbau Nazi office building in Munich, that is said to be this very bathtub from Hitler’s apartment.

  2. Lee Miller and her photographer boyfriend were disgusting individuals for doing this. Did they think it was cute, to bathe in the same tub Hitler did.

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