[The Hague]: [ca. 1945]. Hardcover. Two oblong 8vo. albums. First album: 11.5" by 9" approx. String-tied faux-alligator boards. 43 gelatin-silver prints (majority 3.75" by 2.5", but many 5.5" by 3.25") mounted to stiff gray leaves with cobweb-patterned tissue guards on each and handwritten captions in Dutch. Apparently complete. Near fine, with several photos mildly yellowed, but majority bright and sharp.
Second album: 13'' by 9'' approx. String-tied grey textured paper boards. 91 gelatin-silver prints of various sizes from 3.75'' by 2.5'' to 5.5'' by 3.25'', most of the latter size, on stiff blue paper with tissue guards and handwritten captions in Dutch. Also contains an anti-Hitler card affixed to the front paste-down, several cards with art and verse, and two sepia-toned photographs on the final page. Two 5'' scuff marks to front board, album corners and edges worn and bumped, otherwise near fine with bright and sharp photographs. Near fine. Item #20240
A pair of carefully assembled albums, possibly compiled for official use. The majority of the photos in both albums record the aftermath of a botched Allied bombardment in the Hague on March 3, 1945; the attack claimed the lives of 511 civilians and left over 20,000 people homeless. Targeted at a German missile base in the occupied Netherlands, bombs deployed by the Royal Air Force landed instead in the adjacent Bezuidenhout neighborhood in the Hague, destroying thousands of homes, business, and public buildings. The photos show several bombed-out churches and many apartment buildings, with street names captioned underneath. Near the end of the first album, three images show the burning of the Schevenigen Pier near the Hague, which the compiler blames on the Germans, but whose exact cause has never been established. The album forms a direct account of wartime destruction in the Netherlands.
The second album, much more extensive, includes some of the same material along with many other photographs. Affixed to the front paste-down is a black-bordered satirical memorial card for Hitler, reading (in Dutch), "He came...but not to England / He saw...Moscow / He lost...the war." Beginning with two views of The Hague, one in 1930 and one apparently mid-bombardment, labeled March 3 1945, it also includes numerous scenes of destroyed buildings and monuments identified by street name. Some of these overlap with images from the first album; many do not. In addition to those showing the aftermath of the bombing, several photos show intact monuments and buildings from neighboring cities like Middelburg, possibly as a point of comparison with the ones destroyed. A few pages show photographs of various Bailey bridges at unspecified locations and other wartime construction. The final page of uncaptioned photos includes a shot of a pro-Hitler slogan painted in Dutch on a bridge underpass and a photo of several posters, including a Dutch advertisement for "De Eeuwige Jood" (The Eternal Jew), a German propaganda film. A final leaf follows, with two pro-R.A.F. cards with verses and drawings, and three souvenir cards of Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana, and her children Beatrix and Irene. The final page has two sepia-toned photos of a parade, presumably celebrating the war's end. An important act of witnessing from an unfortunate event.