Where is the world is this? (probably Germany, but...?)
March 25, 2010 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Crowd-sourcing photo info: Where was this photo taken?

Folks, I'm posting this for a friend at the Wisconsin Historical Sociaty. They have this photo and can't figure out where it was taken. If it helps, they're pretty sure it was taken "in Europe," but my understanding is that Europe is slightly bigger than, say, Milwaukee.

I would assume that the person who identifies the location will get a big Thank You in the Wisconsin Magazine of History (yes, it's a prestigious journal).

Thanks for your help!
posted by rev- to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why do you say "probably Germany" in your title, and then not include the reasons for that in your question? Any and all information you have could be the clue that helps you get your answer! (For example, including Hirsch Privat-Zusc(??) in there as the words on the building in the background)
posted by Grither at 7:13 AM on March 25, 2010


Hirsch is a Germanic surname, and the two smiling ladies are doing "Hitler salutes" so it'll almost certainly be Germany, or possibly Austria. The salute was made compulsory within the Nazi movement from 1926, and for all public employees from 1933.
posted by jonesor at 7:23 AM on March 25, 2010


I am pretty sure this is in Munich. I'll try to find pictures of the fountain I have in mind...
posted by Glow Bucket at 7:36 AM on March 25, 2010


Have they tried sending it to German or Austrian, or maybe even Swiss, archives?
posted by mareli at 7:41 AM on March 25, 2010


Jonesor, as the details on that link make clear, the two smiling ladies are touring dancers from Madison, WI. They definitely seem to be in a German-speaking country, and they might well be doing Hitler salutes, ironically or unironically--but it won't be because they're members of the Nazi party (after 1926) or public employees (after 1933)...
posted by lapsangsouchong at 7:41 AM on March 25, 2010


Sorry, that's clearly no fountain.
posted by Glow Bucket at 7:41 AM on March 25, 2010


Here are the details from the link for future AskMe detectives:

The women pictured here are the Sidell Sisiters, Billie and Piera, famous dancers from Madison, Wisconsin. They toured Europe during the late 1920's and the 1930's. This is most likely around 1930. The information I have for this photographs merely says, "in Europe." Europe is a pretty big place, so I'd like to narrow it down a bit. The sign in the background suggests it is a German-speaking country.
posted by sallybrown at 7:48 AM on March 25, 2010


I really doubt it helps at all, but I'd bet the seated male statue is a representation of Mercury/Ares, with a figure from the Iliad as a distant second. I can't really tell what scene is playing out on the flat surface behind the dude-- definitely a battle of some sort, but for some reason the two higher-up figures are both female. And floating. I'd guess at least one (probably the top-center one) is Athena, this being a war-themed monument. The maidens standing at the corners are holding laurel crowns, so this likely commemorates a victory. The lions make me think this is neo-classical rather than an actual, repurposed ancient statue, but don't quote me on that.

...and that's all I got.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:53 AM on March 25, 2010


Jonesor, as the details on that link make clear, the two smiling ladies are touring dancers from Madison, WI. They definitely seem to be in a German-speaking country, and they might well be doing Hitler salutes, ironically or unironically--but it won't be because they're members of the Nazi party (after 1926) or public employees (after 1933)...

To clarify, what I was getting at was that the Nazi salute wasn't a normal public thing to do until some time between these these dates. So whether they were doing it ironically, aping the habits of the general populace, or not, it wasn't before this time.
posted by jonesor at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2010


From the Potsdam website:

The former Hirsch Department Store is located closer to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stra├če on the other side of the road. It was erected on the site of numerous predecessors in the year 1910. The company was founded in 1880 and "Aryanized" in 1938, meaning that it was expropriated and sold to a member of the NSDAP (Nazi party). After 1945, the building was initially a shopping center for Soviet army officers (Univermag), and afterwards a HO furniture store (the HO was a state-owned trade organization). It received its current appearance around the turn of the millennium.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:22 AM on March 25, 2010


It looks a bit like bronze - to add to the victory commemoration theory, could it be made of melted cannons, such as the Achilles in Hyde Park?
posted by jquinby at 8:23 AM on March 25, 2010


I think this might be very hard to find. If it's really in Germany or Austria there is a very good chance the statues and buildings don't exist anymore since WWII.

Perhaps there are some flickr groups for crowd-sourcing? Here is a group for statues all over the world, perhaps you can make a post there?
posted by sebas at 8:26 AM on March 25, 2010


It really reminds me of the Nicholas I monument in Saint Petersburg, but it's definitely not that, and I doubt they'd be flashing support for Hitler during that time period in Russia, too.

If process of elimination helps, I doubt this statue was either in Saint Petersburg or Moscow.
posted by zizzle at 8:36 AM on March 25, 2010


I thought it looked like Marienplatz or Maz Joseph-Platz in Munich, but I can confirm that it is definitely neither of those (unless that statue was destroyed during the war).
posted by jozzas at 9:09 AM on March 25, 2010


The women are stnading on the steps of a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm designed by Reinhold Begas, built in 1897 on the riverbank across from the Stadtschloss. Note how they are oriented with the collonade to their left, with one of the chariots visible on top in the far upper right of the photograph.

In 1930 (better image than on the page above)

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Nationaldenkmal on Wikimedia Commons; parts of the memorial survive in an installation in the Tiergarten

(I didn't know this, I just followed a hunch)
posted by dhartung at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


To clarify, what I was getting at was that the Nazi salute wasn't a normal public thing to do until some time between these these dates. So whether they were doing it ironically, aping the habits of the general populace, or not, it wasn't before this time.

Fair enough!
posted by lapsangsouchong at 8:08 PM on March 25, 2010


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