What Germany Looked Like Before WWII Ruined It

In the early 1900’s, the future looked promising for a blossoming Germany.  The popular Kaiser von Wilhelm II was in charge, and he was leading a strong country into the 20th century.  The economy was booming, and this was reflected in the magnificent bourgeois residences, the new streets, and new complexes to house the working classes.  But the country’s beautiful scenery wouldn’t remain.  While German territory remained relatively safe from widespread invasion for most of the first World War, the aftermath and the coming destruction of WWII would have a lasting impact.

In the photobook “Germany Around 1900” author Karin Lelonek, documentarian and photo researcher Sabine Arqué, and designer, collector, and vintage photo collector Mark Walter capture images of the country before much of it was destroyed.  The images are all rare examples of the historical photochrom process, a printing technique that allowed black-and-white photographs to be reproduced in color.

Schwerin grand-ducal palace, Mecklenburg


Wernigerode Town Hall


Castle of Sigmaringen


The coast around Westerland


Bedroom, Neuschwanstein Castle, south of Munich


Heinstein Castle near Trechtingshausen / Butchers’ Guild Hall, Hildesheim


Bastei Bridge


Frederick Bridge and Berlin’s cathedral


Traditional German kitchen


Sources: Demilked, taschen