Thomas Hermann, German © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Herbert Drossler, German © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Ernst Gottstein, Austrian © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Karl Ulber, Austrian © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Voldemars Sprogeris, Estonian © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Bjorn Ostring, SS Norwegian © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Fernand Kaisergruber, SS Wallon (Belgium) © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Adolph Straka, Slovenian © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Jean Mathieu, French © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Henri Hobel, French © Jonathan Alpeyrie
Jonathan Alpeyrie is one of the most talented photojournalists today. His interest in portraying all conflicts has forced him to investigate in the wars of the past, especially the Second World War. He has been working on a book project that we wanted to present today.
The Second World War was fought by an entire generation of men from more than 60 nations. Americans, Canadians, Russian, British, Chinese, South Africans and many others fought the Japanese, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Slovaks and more, all were embroiled in a war which killed over 50 millions soldiers and civilians alike, making this conflict the bloodiest in Human history. The 1921/22-generation is today often known as a sacrificed generation, which fought for a various array of beliefs all intertwined in self-sacrifice and honor. In Germany alone 3.2 million soldiers were killed or missing in battle in a six-year period, Japan lost over 2 million men in combat, while the United States suffered 409 thousand men killed in action. However Russia holds the morbid record, with more than 10 million killed between 1941 and 1945. These astounding numbers show the brutality in which this war was fought in the air, on land and in the seas.
As a journalist, always in search for a certain historical truth within today’s framework, the stories of each of these men interviewed and photographed is a treasure of human perseverance. The project contains no pretense to judge or criticize the actions or decisions taken by these men, but it is rather a recollection of a period drastically different from ours. Their testimony is relevant in a historical sense, which should not be lost in time, as the next generations to come can and should learn from this generation.
The photography project will deal with as many nationalities as possible, for the simple reason that many nations were involved in the fighting. So far I have photographed Germans, Russians, Armenians, Karabastis, French, Belgium, Poles, Americans, Nepalese, Croatian, Czechs, Latvians, Japanese Americans, Pilipino, Hungarians and more…which includes 92 men from 19 different nationalities. Each man is interviewed on his experience through out the war. The goal of this project is to reunite as many veterans as possible from most nationalities involved in the Second World War. Right now I am in touch with Serbians, Bosnians, Uzbeks, Balts, Finns, Chinese, Japanese organizations, which will soon add up to the other 8. In one year from now the project should be completed with a selection of between 75 to 100 veterans from about 20 to 25 nationalities.
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