Embarrassing Hitler Photos That He Tried To Have Destroyed — Or Probably Should Have

Published October 2, 2017
Updated October 13, 2017

Rarely-seen photos that'll upend your image of this genocidal dictator.

Looking Scared
Hitler poses during a photo shoot in which he tries out new gestures to a recording of one of his speeches. These photos were taken by Heinrich Hoffmann after Hitler's release from Landsberg Prison in 1925.Heinrich Hoffmann/Getty Images

Pinkie Up
Accentuate that important point with a pinkie up. Heinrich Hoffmann/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Mouth Open
If we say he's doing the Arsenio Hall "arm pump," will you ever be able to unsee it?Heinrich Hoffmann/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Hitler Questioning
Perhaps he is questioning why he is even doing this. Heinrich Hoffmann/Getty Images

Body Turned
Looks like Hitler is taking a dance break to escape all the seriousness. Heinrich Hoffmann/Getty Images

Mean Face
But now it's clearly back to business. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Fist Pump
Perhaps he is now adding drama to his little recital by using Shakespearean language and gestures. Heinrich Hoffmann/Getty Images

Dramatic Pose
Accusatory Hitler is back with a vengeance. Heinrich Hoffmann/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Reach For Sky
Half salute, half jazz hands?Heinrich Hoffmann/Getty Images

Pointing Finger
"You know, Heinrich, I do enjoy these little interludes. What fun we have." Heinrich Hoffmann/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Hitler Speech Waving
But could we please turn down the lights!?Heinrich Hoffmann/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Hitler Speech Punching
And lastly, what appears to be an artist's rendition of the whole ludicrous episode.Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Hitler In Lederhosen
Nothing screams tyrannical leader like leather lederhosen. Hitler later regretted showing his bare legs and banned the few photos in existence where they were seen.Time Life Pictures/National Archives/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Summer Shorts
So this? Totally banned. Hitler again models his short shorts, hand on hip, by a quaint cabin. 1930. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Steely Gaze
Portrait of Hitler sporting an icy stare. He thought this photo made him look stupid and had it banned. Circa 1923-1924. Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

Quiet Picnic
In a spread from "Deutschland Erwacht'," Hitler sits on a picnic blanket, ready to indulge in a snack. Circa 1933. Heinrich Hoffmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Snoozing Fuhrer
A tuckered-out Hitler snoozes in a comfy lawn chair. 1930.

If Hitler didn’t try to have this photo of him in the most vulnerable of positions banned, it would be most surprising.
ullstein bild via Getty Images

Thanks to Adolf Hitler’s personal photographer, we are privy to the Führer’s private sessions for practicing his infamous speeches. During these sessions, photographer Heinrich Hoffmann captured Hitler in the throes of passionate lip-sync to his own recorded speech.

The demonstrative dictator wanted a record of his gestures and expressions to be able to see what his audience saw. Thus Hitler used these photos as a tool for improvement. But when he actually saw these photos and how unflattering they were, he ordered Hoffmann to destroy both the prints and the negatives. Hoffmann, however, disobeyed this order.

“It makes perfect sense that he would be doing this," historian Roger Moorhouse saidDeutschland Erwacht," which was banned for containing images that Hitler deemed as “below one’s dignity.”

And what did these undignified images depict? In the book, the imposing dictator can be seen cheerfully picnicking, smiling, and even... wearing shorts.


Next, see yet another photo of himself that Hitler tried to have banned. Then, read the recent reports that claim to have unearthed the bizarre sexual fetishes that Hitler tried to keep hidden.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.