Moscow Jewish museum obtains original of famous photo doctored by Soviets

(JTA) — The recently discovered original copy of an iconic World War II photo that was doctored in the Soviet Union was unveiled at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

A reproduction of the original negative of a photo documenting the raising of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag, the German parliament in Berlin, was unveiled on May 8 at the museum during a news conference, according to a report on the Chabad-affiliated Israeli news site www.col.org.il.

Taken in May 1945 by the Jewish photographer Yevgeny Khaldei, the photo was altered by the Soviet propaganda machine under Josef Stalin — smoke was added in the background to illustrate the intensity of the fighting. Also, a wristwatch was removed from the arm of the soldier seen raising the flag; he was wearing two presumably looted watches.

The original negative was purchased several weeks ago for an undisclosed amount by a collector from Khaldei’s daughter and donated to Russia’s Union of Jewish Communities, which gave it to the museum, the website reported Thursday – the 68th anniversary of Berlin’s occupation by the Red Army.

On May 8, the anniversary of the end of World War II, Berlin’s Martin Gropius Bau Museum opened an exhibition featuring photos by Khaldei, who is considered one of the most important photojournalists of the Soviet era.

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