(This article is courtesy of the Daily Post News Letter)
Hitler came on our honeymoon! Unseen pictures of The Fuhrer on tour in Naples unearthed in long-lost black and white collection of family vacation photos found in a Virginia thrift store
- Pictures of the infamous leader were found in rolls of an unidentified family’s holiday snaps from the 1930s
- Photography enthusiast Matt Ames was shocked to find the historical images on the film he bought at a thrift store
Photography enthusiast Matt Ames was pleased to find some rolls of old film among the usual collection of discarded bric-a-brac lining the shelves of a backstreet thrift shore in Virginia.
But what Mr Ames didn’t realize was that he’d accidentally stumbled upon a piece of Europe’s wartime history – as captured by a young American couple who appeared to be on their honeymoon in Italy.
For among the 400 or so negatives on the 35 mm nitrate films, he was shocked to uncover previously unseen photos of Adolf Hitler touring Italy at the height of his powers.
The pictures were taken by a mystery photographer, who Mr. Ames believes may either have ended up living in the city of Roanoke, where the films were purchased, or New York, which is featured in many of the photos.
Among the scores of holiday snaps and family photos, the pictures – taken in the years before the Second World War – reveal the unknown photographer’s brush with the 20th century’s most infamous leaders.
In one of the forgotten photos, Hitler is pictured sitting next to King Emmanuel III of Italy during a parade in Naples in 1938 after the Fuhrer had viewed fellow fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s naval fleet in the Mediterranean.
Mr Ames, who has held an exhibition of the photos in Martinsville, Virginia, said: ‘In 2013 I found several rolls of negatives in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia. They were standard 35 mm, black and white and some of the rolls were clearly nitrate film.
‘Much to my surprise the film included photographs of Hitler and King Emmanuel on parade, other Nazi images from Naples, Italy in the Spring of 1938, numerous photos of Naples city life, Pompeii and photos of Manhattan.’
Pictures of Adolf Hitler – sitting on the left beside King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy – were uncovered on films found in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia by photography enthusiast Matt Ames
Mystery couple: The roll of vacation snaps also includes a picture of the photographer and a woman thought to be his wife. The man is thought to have worked for Mobil Oil
Hitler visited Italy in 1938 to meet with fellow Axis leader Benito Mussolini. The photos uncovered in Virginia are believed to show him after he viewed Italy’s naval fleet
Hitler (circled) is pictured receiving fascist salutes from Italian troops, who lined the seafront road in Naples for his visit
The images show Hitler’s cavalcade surrounded by motorcycle outriders as he is paraded along the streets of the southern Italian city
The pictures also appear to show young members of Mussolini’s Gioventu Italian del Littorio or GIL youth movement, which was similar to the Hitler Youth in Germany
Hitler took a tour of Italy in 1938, and joined Mussolini and the king on board the battleship Conte di Cavour in Naples to watch military exercises
The photographer managed to capture a picture of the Italian fleet, which was amassed of the coast for the Fuhrer’s visit
The pictures also offer an insight into the fascist architecture being built-in Italy at the time, with swastikas adorning a number of public monuments (above and below)
Hitler’s visit to Naples was one of many meetings between the two leaders, pictured here ahead of the 1938 Munich conference. File Photo
The rolls of film were later bought by Matt Ames (pictured left with the films), who used newspaper cuttings to work out when they were taken
Mussolini’s fascist regime, which took control of Italy in 1925, was in many ways seen as a forerunner to Hitler’s own Nazi party.
Hitler is known to have admired the way Mussolini swept to power and wrote to him in 1923, the year after the Italian’s famous ‘March on Rome’ protests.
After Mussolini took control of Italy, he provided financial assistance to Hitler’s National Socialist movement and allowed the SS to train with his ‘Blackshirts’ brigades.
After taking power in Germany, Hitler backed Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935 and the two countries’ forces lined up together with the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War.
But despite the diplomatic consensus, the pair’s first meeting in 1934 (pictured right) went badly, with Mussolini struggling to understand Hitler’s Austrian accent.
Hitler is believed to have felt upstaged by Mussolini’s elaborate uniform and the Italian is said to have found Hitler boring and described him as ‘a mad little clown’.
Despite the personal differences, the two leaders signed the so-called ‘Pact of Steel’ in 1939, agreeing military and economic cooperation.
Italy didn’t officially enter the Second World War until 1940 and after a disastrous campaign in North Africa, the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943, with Mussolini later expelled from power and executed. Berlin fell in 1945, with Hitler committing suicide in his military bunker.
The pictures also include some street scenes of 1930’s Naples, including this one, showing a children’s goat-drawn cart in a city square
The snaps show the photographers’ interest in Italy’s famous sports cars, including a photo of this vehicle, pictured on a seaside promenade
The rolls of film also contain more usual holiday snaps from the photographer’s visit, including shots of the Naples skyline at the time
Mr Ames also found a series a photos of New York on the films, apparently taken from a boat rolling into the city’s famous harbor.
The pictures, which show a crowded boat about the dock in the US, suggest the man either visited Italy on a trip or moved to America from Europe ahead of the Second World War
The photos, along with tales from Mr Ames’ attempts to work out their origins, were made the subject of a recent exhibition at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia.
Mr Ames traced the location of the pictures by comparing this shot of Naples waterfront with modern-day pictures of the same location
The photographer, seemingly a car enthusiast, also took photos of this Fiat garage and motorists filling their vehicles outside.