GERMANY. Breslau. May 1945. “All Quiet on the Oder River”. Soviet soldiers overlooking the last major European city to fall under the control of the Allies after a three-month-long siege (February 13, 1945 - May 6, 1945) and two days before the end of the war in the West.

Breslau was transferred to Poland after the war and rebaptised Wrocław. 

Photograph: Dmitry Baltermants


All of my newest bullet journal layouts! I’m really pleased with how my cover pages and weekly spread turned out. However, the snowflakes seem really redundant when I took the pictures outside when it was 70*. I wish the weather would make up its mind. 

The quotes are:

“You do your work the best you can and someday it will surface”-Dmitri Baltermants

“These are the days that must happen to you” -Walt Whitman

The photo depicts a 1942 Nazi massacre in the Crimean village of Kerch. Village women searched for the bodies of their loved ones. The contrast between the oversaturated sky above and the bodies haphazardly strewn in the foreground underlines the poignancy of the moment, but for the same reason, the photo was censored in the Soviet Union where authorities only published the photos that could help boost morale; ‘Grief’ reflected nothing but harsh tragedies of war, and it wasn’t seen by the general public until the 1960s.

The photo was allegedly cropped, and oversaturated sky itself was either the result of studio error or deliberate manipulation by Baltermants. Like so many tales originating from behind the Iron Curtain, these stories were of course unverified.

Photo by Dmitri Baltermants.

Dimitri Baltermans (1912 – 1990) was a Soviet photojournalist, born in Warsaw, Poland. He reported the battles in Stalingrad and Ukraine. He was twice wounded, because he followed the army of very close.

1 & 2: Russian soldiers playing piano in a wrecked living room. Photographed by Dmitri Baltermants (1912-1990) in Breslau, Germany. 1945.

3: The crew of the IS-2 tank commanded by Lieutenant B.I. Degtyarev, 1st Ukrainian Front, 87th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment. Turret gunner B.V. Kalyakin is playing classic music for his comrades, tank driver A.I. Kozeikin is standing next to him. Picture taken by Anatoly Yegorov in Breslau, Germany. 1945. 

4: A SS soldier plays the piano after the fight. The men belong to the 1st SS Panzer Division “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler”. Kharkov, Ukraine. 1943

5: U.S. Marines play a piano rescued from the ruins of the village of Agat following the Allied success retaking the island of Guam from the Japanese. Agat, Guam, Mariana Islands. August 1944.

6:  French soldier playing the piano in the midst of a ruined village in France. 1916.

7: G.I.’s gather around a Steinway “Victory Vertical” Piano. Steinway made about 3,000 “Victory Vertical” pianos in olive drab, blue or grey for troops between 1941 and 1953. North Africa, 1943

8: Australian troops inspect the keys of a piano left in the centre of a coconut plantation by the Japanese. Finschhafen, New Guinea. 27 November 1943.

9: A Lebanese fighter plays the piano in a house recently taken over during the 1975-90 civil war. Beirut, Lebanon. 1984. 

10: Chechen rebel playing an abandoned piano outside of a music school (kultprosvetuchilische) in Grozny, Chechnya. December 1994. 

11: Russian soldier playing an abandoned piano in Grozny, Chechnya. 1995.

12: US Corporal Matt Sweazy plays the piano in one of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Baghdad, Iraq. April 21, 2003.

13 & 14: Protestors in Kiev, Ukraine. 2013