German Passport Propaganda Photographer

Hilmar Pabel (* 17 September 1910 in Rawitsch, Province of Posen) was a German journalist, photographer, and initiator of the Red Cross’s search for children after the Second World War. Despite his participation in the war propaganda of National Socialism, he can be regarded as one of the most important German representatives of humanistic, enlightened press photography.

The son of a merchant, he began taking photographs in 1924 at the age of fourteen. In 1929 he learned photography at the Agfa photo school in Berlin. From 1930 to 1935, he studied German language and literature, philosophy, and newspaper science at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin with Emil Dovifat. He then worked freelance for various newspapers, such as the Illustrirte Zeitung. German Passport Propaganda Photographer

During the Second World War, he worked as a war correspondent and photographer for a propaganda company. Among other things, he photographed in the Lublin ghetto. These photographs were also published with anti-Semitic captions. At the end of the war, he was a prisoner of war for a short time.

In 1945 he worked for the Bavarian Red Cross and was one of the initiators of their search for children. In this context, he himself photographed over 2000 children to locate their parents or relatives. In 1947 he took his series of pictures Heimkehrer, for which he accompanied a war returnee with his camera. Pabel later worked for the magazine Quick, for which he traveled to the GDR, Nepal, Indonesia, Japan, China, Taiwan, numerous African states, the USSR, and the United States. Paris Match and Life also printed his photo reports. German Passport Propaganda Photographer

In 1961 he was awarded the Culture Prize of the German Society for Photography. 1961-1970 he worked as a photographer for Stern. For the magazine, he created an impressive picture series during the Vietnam War (The Little Orchid, 1964 and Thuan May Live Again, 1968) and during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. After 1970 he worked again as a freelance photographer.

He married the author and journalist, Romy Schurhammer, in 1963. Andrea Pabel, riding instructor, children’s and horse book author, is one of his two daughters.

Pabel was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon and later the 1st Class, which he returned in 1987. The reason was a fine imposed on his daughter for her participation in a sit-in blockade of the access road to the American Pershing II depot on the Mutlanger Heide in the course of the peace movement.

Pabel past away at age 90 in 2000.

German Passport Propaganda Photographer

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