Hans Richard self-portrait, with mechanical timer.  Print marked ‘R’ for Rolleiflex.  He has cropped the square negative.  Note straps of his Exakta camera case, held behind his back.

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“Beef Eater (Tower Soldaten).”


“Entfesselungskünstler.”   Escape Artist.  photo: Hans Richard Griebe.

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“Tower Hill”.  Photo: Izis Bidermanas, from Gala Day London, Harvill Press, London, 1953.  Double page spread. (Note: the photo has been cropped due to the limitations of the photoscanner used.)

Izis Bildermanas  (usually known as ‘Izis’) was from Lithuania and lived in Paris from 1930.  He joined Paris Match in 1950, and was with them for twenty years.  In 1953 he came to London to cover the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The escapologist above is Johnny Eagle, and details about him are online.

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Apart from covering the Coronation Izis took many photos of London’s East End, and also of the Westbourne Grove/Paddington area.  By an interesting coincidence, both he and Hans Richard Griebe photographed Hampden Crescent, W.2. within a year of each other.  A working class street in the 1950s it was later demolished as part of the building of the Westway Road.  Their photos can be compared in Chapter 15).  The Izis photograph of Hampden Crescent is also in Gala Day London.  The Queens People, above, was also published by the Harvill Press, London in 1953.


“Einer Tower Raben.”


“Traditionen.”    Tradition.

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Sketch: Hans Richard Griebe.



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“Traitor’s Gate.”     (Print marked ‘R’ for Rolleiflex.)


“Neu in England: Herta.”   New in England: Herta.

Note in the above photo the tired soldier, and further in the background, the child sitting on the canon barrel.

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“Brachte Herta ( 2.10.)”  Comes Herta (2.10).

It is assumed that Herta is a new student at the London School of English.  In the photo of her at the Embankment she is looking into the viewfinder of a pre-war Rolleiflex, probably Hans Richard’s.  There is a faint possibility that it is hers, and that the photos designated as taken with a Rolleiflex were taken by her.  However, the chronology of photographs taken doesn’t fit this surmise:  the season in the above photo is turning autumnal, and photos were taken with a Rolleiflex from late August onwards.  Secondly, if she had been taking the Rolleiflex photos, she would have had to have given Hans Richard the rolls of film, or once back in Germany, sent him the developed negatives for him to print.  She does accompany him to the naval museum to Greenwich, and one or two other locations (see later Chapters), and she has  taken one or two photos of him with his Rolleiflex, probably at his request.


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“Kanonen, Couples, Kinderchen.”

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“Kanonenfutter.”  Canon Fodder.

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“Tower Bridge.”

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“Sunderland-flugboot am Tower (Battle of Britain week).”     Battle of Britain week was usually between 7 and 15 September celebrating the last and decisive fighter airplane battle between the Luftwaffe and the RAF during the summer of 1940.   Defeated in the skies over southern England, Hitler abandoned Operation Sealion (the invasion of Britain) and the Luftwaffe switched to night time bomber blitzing of British cities.  The defeat of the fighter planes of the Luftwaffe (and the probability of imminent invasion) is now commemorated as Battle of Britain Day, rather than Week.

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“Die Stelle, wo 1950 mien Hut beihahe überfahren worsen wäre.”  The spot in 1950 where my hat was run over.  

Without this caption we would not have realised that Hans Richard had been in Britain before.  The tantalising thought is that he had been a POW (prisoner of war).  German POWs in Britain were made to work on the land after the war, up until the end of 1948, when the last of them were repatriated.  However, many thousands of German POWs volunteered to stay on after 1948.  Perhaps Hans Richard was one of them?  And returned to Germany during 1950, or after?

ssRinaldo-76PNGMV Rinaldo.


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Sketch: Hans Richard Griebe.

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MV Royal Sovereign.


Next:  11. The East End, Kensington Gardens, Mothers & Babies.

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