After being saved from an auction, extraordinary photographs that were taken during WWII by a German soldier are now on display for the first-time.

This set of 59 private black-and-white photos, taken from September 2, 1943, to October 13, 1944, depicts German soldiers in the Warsaw Uprising. It was the biggest resistance movement against Nazis during World War II.

These photos of soldiers beleaguered by Nazis on the frontline would not have been published in the original publication, because they might have proven damaging to Nazi propaganda efforts. 

Hitler ordered complete destruction of Warsaw during the Warsaw Uprising. This began on the 1st August 1944.

His Nazi troops had already razed more than 80 per cent of the city and 18,000 Poles were dead in the 63 day battle. 

Jan Ołdakowski, the director of the Warsaw Rising Museum said: ‘These photos were taken from a private perspective, which is why they are so valuable.’

Shabbily-dressed German officers are seen giving Nazi salutes to a group of women, some of whom are returning the gesture. It is not clear if the women are German or local Polish civilians trying to save their own lives.

German officers in shabbily-dressed uniforms are shown giving Nazi salutes at a group women. Some are responding to the gesture. It’s not certain if these women are German civilians or Polish citizens trying to save themselves.

A group of scruffily-dressed Nazi officers at the graveside of a comrade killed during fighting. Around 18,000 Polish insurgents were slaughtered by the well-armed Germans.

Unscrupulous Nazi officers gathered at the graveside of a fallen friend during fighting. The well-armed Germans killed around 18,000 Polish rebels.

Shabbily-dressed German soldiers spy through a peephole as they lie holed up in what appears to be an evacuated apartment. The soldiers appear to have been lying on filthy blankets and are hiding from the enemy - such images would never have been published in Nazi Germany.

As they hide in an apartment that appears to have been evacuated, a group of German soldiers dressed in shabbily spy on them through a peephole. They are likely hiding under blankets, and appear to be on filthy beds. Such images wouldn’t have been published by Nazi Germany.

German soldiers inspect the aftermath of an explosion on a train track which blew several holes in the ground and split the wrought iron tracks in two.

German soldiers examine the effects of an explosion that ripped apart wrought iron track and blew many holes in it.

Ołdakowski continuedL ‘You can see that the recommendations on how to photograph German soldiers did not apply to them, so they are often sloppy, dirty and sitting in postures that would not please their bosses.’

He added: ‘A German soldier could not show in his photos another German soldier who had his uniform unbuttoned, or who was tired.

‘The Germans made sure that the image of their soldiers was that of a victorious, well-uniformed, decent army.’

Soldiers file out of a building carrying their weapons. The fighters look tired and worn - a far cry from the master race of elite fighting forces portrayed in Nazi propaganda

Armed soldiers leave a building with their weapons. These fighters appear tired and worn, a stark contrast to the elite fighting force depicted in Nazi propaganda.

Shirtless and dishevelled soldiers lift destroyed equipment onto a train in the aftermath of heavy fighting in the Polish capital

In the aftermath of the heavy fighting in Poland’s capital, shirtless and dirty soldiers load the damaged equipment onto trains.

Nazi soldiers peek out of the window of an apartment in Warsaw that has been boarded up amid the bitter fighting

Nazi soldiers peer out from the windows of an apartment in Warsaw, which has been closed during the bloody fighting

German soldiers stand alongside heavy artillery directed at the city as they await orders from their superiors

While they are waiting for their orders, German soldiers sit alongside heavy artillery directed against the city. 

The unique photos described by historians as ‘historically priceless’ were recently discovered by staff at the Warsaw Rising Museum after being put up for sale on an internet auction site.

The owner, an antiquarian bookseller in the Czech Republic, agreed to sell them to the museum for the equivalent of £2,000 if he received the money within 48 hours.

Now on public display online, other photos show the occupying Nazi German soldiers manning positions in buildings, preparing to face the onslaught from Stalin’s Red Army waiting on the other side of the Vistula river, and Wehrmacht troops on patrol on the bombed out capital’s streets.

German troops ride atop an armoured vehicle making its way through the streets of the demolished Polish capital

German troops are riding on an armoured vehicle that makes its way through streets of the desolate Polish capital.

A Nazi officer oversees what appear to be local civilians who have been rounded up and put to work for the German soldiers

One Nazi officer supervises the capture of what appears to be civilians and their employment by the German soldiers.

One of the photos shows shabbily dressed German officers giving Nazi salutes and some women returning it.

We don’t know if these women are German civilians trying to save their lives.

Another image shows officers dressed in rough clothes at the tomb of a combatant.

Another image shows disgraced officers of the German Railway Security Service (Bahnschutz), filing through a bunker constructed with overhead street barsricades.

The bitter fighting lasted for 63 days and resulted in the majority of the city being utterly destroyed by German heavy artillery after Hitler ordered its destruction

Following Hitler’s orders, bitter fighting continued for 63 consecutive days. After the German heavy artillery decimated most of the city, it was retaken by the Germans.

Many others show German officers inspecting railway tracks for damage.

The collection ends with photos of Polish civilians being herded out of the capital’s Ochota district.

Although the identity of the soldier who took the photos remains a mystery, historian Ryszard Mączewski said: ‘It could have been a soldier of the 302nd Radio Battalion, because the weapons used by soldiers from that unit are visible in the photographs.

‘However, it could also have been someone connected with the Bahnschutz, as officers of German railways can be seen in the photographs.’ 

This photo depicts a group of Polish civilians who did not form part of the insurgency against the Nazis being herded out of the capital’s Ochota district

This photo depicts a group of Polish civilians who did not form part of the insurgency against the Nazis being herded out of the capital’s Ochota district

Around 18,000 Poles lost their lives in the 63-day battle, with another 25,000 injured

The 63-day conflict saw 18,000 Poles lose their lives, and another 25,000 are injured.

The Warsaw Uprising, which began on 1 August 1944 and lasted until 2 October 1944, resulted in Hitler ordering the complete destruction of the city. By the time his Nazi forces had finished, over 80 percent of the city had been razed to the ground.

Hitler ordered the destruction of all the cities in the Warsaw Uprising. It began on August 1, 1944 and ended on October 2, 1944. Over 80 percent had been destroyed by the Nazis when he left.


An estimated 50,000 young Polish women and men joined the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation of the city.

The insurgents, known as the Home Army, were aiming to oust the Germans and take control of Warsaw before it was ‘liberated’ by the advancing Soviet Army. Although it was anticipated that the process would take only days, it took two months.

The bloody battle against the Germans lasted 63 days and saw approximately 18,000 people killed, while another 25,000 were injured.

Commanded by General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, the Home Army had managed to gain control of most of Warsaw within three days.

The Germans arrived with reinforcements to force the rebels to defend themselves. They bombarded them with artillery, air strikes and other means over two months.

The Home Army, without Allied support was divided into smaller units that were not connected and had to surrender after its supplies ran dry on October 2.

About 180,000 civilians died in executions and bombings by the end of the uprising.

General Bór-Komorowski and his forces were taken as prisoners and the Nazis then razed the city. The expulsion of around 500,000 residents was also done, and some were sent to Auschwitz.

This revolt halted the Soviet Red Army’s westward march, and it waited for the Soviet Red Army to cross the Vistula River until its final day.

Pro-Soviet Polish authorities were able to dismantle the rebellion and regain control over the Polish government. The Polish officials had been living in London.

During Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland during the Second World War, six million of its citizens died – including three million Jews.