Raymond D’Addario, 90; his photos put face on Nuremberg war crimes trials

Raymond D’Addario (left) in position at the Nuremberg trials. Raymond D’Addario (left) in position at the Nuremberg trials. (US Army)
By Dennis Hevesi
New York Times / February 19, 2011

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NEW YORK — Raymond D’Addario, a US Army photographer whose images of Hitler’s top henchmen during the Nuremberg war crimes trials put their faces before the world as it became increasingly aware of Nazi atrocities, died of a stroke Sunday at his home in Holyoke, Mass., his hometown. He was 90.

Mr. D’Addario was one of about a dozen still and motion-picture photographers assigned by the Army Pictorial Service in November 1945 to document the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. He was the most prolific member of the team and, perhaps, its most consequential.

Among his thousands of photographs, the best known are shots of the 21 defendants in the dock flanked by white-helmeted military police officers standing straight with their arms folded behind their backs.

“Perhaps the defining image from all of D’Addario’s work is of the defendants in the box in Courtroom 600 at the Palace of Justice,’’ John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University and an expert on the Nuremberg trials, said Wednesday. “That image is known around the world, and if one were to make a silhouette and ask random people what it was, millions would correctly say, ‘Nuremberg.’ ’’

Of the 21 defendants tried during the nine-month tribunal — conducted by the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and France — 18 were convicted, and three were acquitted. Among those convicted were Hermann Goering, second in command to Hitler; Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy in the Nazi Party; Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister; and Albert Speer, the minister of war production. Of the 18 convicted, 11 were sentenced to death, and 10 were hanged, on Oct. 16, 1946. Hours before then, Goering committed suicide by ingesting cyanide.

Beyond the group shots in the box, Mr. D’Addario’s portfolio included close-ups of the defendants, sometimes whispering, and the chief US prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson (taking a leave of absence from the Supreme Court), cross-examining and delivering closing arguments.

The photos, and those of his colleagues, were distributed free to newspapers and magazines around the world during the trial and have been published in many history books.

Mr. D’Addario was discharged from the Army after the first trial. But Telford Taylor, the lead prosecutor for 12 additional war crimes trials, conducted solely by the United States, hired him as chief photographer for those proceedings. Over the next three years, Mr. D’Addario photographed trials in which more than 200 other Nazi officials and collaborators were convicted.

“His photographs uniquely capture those perpetrators in a way that the words alone would not,’’ Barrett said.

Born in Holyoke, Ray D’Addario was one of two sons of Vincent and Antoinette D’Addario. Mr. D’Addario graduated from Holyoke High School in 1938 and turned his hobbyist’s interest in photography into freelance work. He enlisted in the Army soon after Pearl Harbor was attacked and was assigned to the Pictorial Service in London.

While covering the trials, he met and married Margarete Borufka, a Czechoslovakian refugee who was translating at the Palace of Justice. After the trials, they settled in Holyoke and opened D’Addario’s Camera Shop on Maple Street.

Besides his wife, Mr. D’Addario leaves two daughters, Linda Salmon and Eva Franklin; his brother, Vincent; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

When the 10 Nazi leaders were hanged, Mr. D’Addario was disappointed that he and his colleagues were not allowed to photograph the executions.

“They had an officer who came down from Frankfurt; all he did was take pictures of the bodies after the execution,’’ Mr. D’Addario said in an interview for a 2006 PBS “American Experience’’ documentary, “The Nuremberg Trials.’’

“Today,’’ he continued, “I’m, very, very happy that I didn’t see the execution.’’