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Rare colour photos show Hitler in new light

Imagine Adolf Hitler as the centre of attention among a group of young schoolgirls. Rare colour photographs have now emerged which portray the Nazi leader in a new light.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2012 22:41 IST

Imagine Adolf Hitler as the centre of attention among a group of young schoolgirls. Rare colour photographs have now emerged which portray the Nazi leader in a new light.

The images were captured by German photographer Hugo Jaeger from the time of rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930s until the end of the Second World War, the Daily Mail reported.

Jaeger was given unique access to Hitler at massive, public rallies across Europe and also in more intimate moments with colleagues.

In one image, Hitler salutes crowds at a rally under a dazzling blue sky, while the backdrop is awash with the red colour of the swastika.

In another picture, Hitler cozies up to a bunch of Austrian schoolgirls while they crowd around him in awe.

According to Life magazine, Hitler once told Jaeger: "The future belongs to colour photography."

How the pictures managed to survive is also a remarkable story.

When the Allies stormed Germany in 1945, Jaeger's home near Munich was raided by US soldiers. They unearthed a leather suitcase in which Jaeger had hidden thousands of copies of the images, which he feared would be destroyed.

However the officers were distracted by a bottle of cognac also in the case, which the proceeded to drink, toasting to the photographer.

Jaeger later buried the images inside glass jars on the outskirts of the city for 20 years before finally selling them in 1965 to Life magazine.

Most of the photographs focus on Hitler's birthday parties. His 50th celebration took place in April 1939 and was marked by military pomp.

In one picture, also from 1939, Hitler looks delighted to have been given a birthday present in the form of a black convertible Volkswagen by Austrian car manufacturer Ferdinand Porsche.