Rabbi uncovers story of how Leica boss saved lives of hundreds of Jews

The Nazis, The Rabbi and The Camera
(Image credit: Arte TV)

A documentary telling the little-known story of how the son of Leica’s founder, Ernst Leitz Wetzlar helped Jews escape Poland has just been released on Arte TV. Despite being a member of the Nazi party, Ernst Leitz II helped hundreds of Jews to safety between 1938 and 1939 by hiring them as Leica “employees” and sending them around the world to work in his showrooms.

Between 1920 and 1956, Ernst Leitz II was head of the Leica company, a company which supplied the German military with the cameras which they used in propaganda campaigns. In many ways, Leitz was a walking controversy, but he personally helped hundreds of Jews and their families to safety, helping them get jobs and making sure they had money to live off. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.