In the archives of...
Life, David E.Sherman
Lee Miller in Hitler's Bath, Hitler's Apartment, Munich, Germany, 1945 © Lee Miller Archives, Muddles Green, Chiddingly, East Sussex, BN8 6HW, England
I lived with Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, he later became her husband, from late 1941 until after the end of the war. It was sort of a ménage à trois, but Roland was in the British army, and so the ménage à trois became a ménage à deux. After the liberation of Paris, Lee and I lived together in the Hotel Scribe in Paris. I had encouraged her to become a correspondent. She said, “For Vogue?”
I said, “Sure.”
Lee and I were mostly inseparable. We were together at the liberation of the concentration camp Dachau. Then we moved into Hitler's headquarters in Munich. Lee and I found an elderly gent who barely spoke English, and we gave him a carton of cigarettes and said, “Show us around Munich.” He showed us Hitler's house, and I photographed Lee taking a bath in Hitler's bathtub, which is a fairly memorable picture in the book The Lives of Lee Miller.
Had she photographed you in Hitler's bathtub?
She did, but I don't know what became of the picture. We were continually swapping cameras. I used her camera for the photograph of her in the bathtub. Quite frequently, my pictures would come out in Vogue and her pictures would come out in Life.
We joined the 15th Infantry Regiment, where Lee was very well known and went with them to Berchtesgaden [Hitler’s country estate]. There were SS troops in the woods all around, and we were scared to death that we were going to get sniped by the SS … We were looting as hard as we possibly could. I looted everything I could lay my hands on, including a complete set of Shakespeare with Hitler's initials, in gold, on the binding, which I sold a few months ago, for 10,000 bucks. I took Shakespeare because I was interested in books. Roland Penrose still has a big gravy boat of silver, which Lee liberated.
After the war, Penrose was awarded a knighthood for his work on behalf of British art, and Lee, a girl from Poughkeepsie, New York, became Lady Penrose, which delighted her.
(Interviewed on August 15, 1993. Excerpted from: John Loengard, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, Boston, A Bullfinch Press Book, 1998)