World War II Arthur Bondar Collection

The occupation of Ukraine in 1941

Gunter Kogel / The German Army / 62 photos

Günter Kögel

A small cardboard box with six rolls of German Agfa film negatives neatly wrapped in tracing paper was found in the basement of an old German house by its new owner. The young German gave this find to his girlfriend from Poland, with the words — " I don’t want to have anything to do with it«. And later, continuing my search for unknown war negatives, I acquired them from her hands.

On the box in black ink pen is written the address, last name and first name of the owner. Lieutenant Gunter Kögel was originally from Leipzig and served in the Wehrmacht artillery regiment that was one of the first to invade the Soviet Union from Ukraine. The pictures depict the German army advancing through the whole of western and central Ukraine toward Moscow at the very beginning of the war in 1941.

Lieutenant Koegel’s lens captured various scenes of life in Ukrainian towns and villages. He was curious about everything, from the national dress of the locals, the architecture of village huts and the decorations of Orthodox churches to the funeral procession. He also photographed many combat operations and everyday life of German soldiers: the attack of the German army, soldiers’ tents, dugouts, fire control and the firing of German artillery at Soviet positions from a 105-mm German light field howitzer (leFH18), as well as the results of the war: the Red Army prisoners of war, light and heavy Soviet tanks and planes that were hit. Nothing goes unnoticed by the inquisitive «tourist» eye of the young lieutenant, and thanks to this, these previously unknown negatives, become a unique frontline photo diary and testimony to the first months of the monstrous war at the Eastern Front.

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Raids on partisans and occupied Belarus. Winter 1941-42
Author unknown / The German Army / 62 photos