Friday, June 10, 2011
Overwhelming Realization Of Utter Defeat
On April 18, 1945, as American troops entered the outskirts of the city of Leipzig, the Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, Ernst Kurt Lisso, and his wife, Renate, and his daughter, Regina, committed joint suicide in the New Town Hall (“Neues Rathaus”). The suicides were accomplished by cyanide capsules.
Regina Lisso, as may be seen from her hat and armband, was a worker for the German Red Cross at the time of her death.
The Mayor of Leipzig, Alfred Freyberg, and Freyberg’s wife and daughter also committed suicide in the New Town Hall on April 18, as did numerous members of the local Volksturm.
The remains of the Lisso family remained untouched for at least two days.
This photograph, by Margaret Bourke-White, then working for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was taken on April 20.
This photograph appeared in Life magazine in 1945 as part of a lengthy series of photographs documenting the mass suicides that occurred in Germany as the war drew to its conclusion. Neither Burke-White nor Life ever enjoyed copyright protection over Burke-White’s wartime work—undertaken on behalf of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Burke-White’s wartime photographs were the exclusive property of the United States Government and, as a result, have always been in the public domain.