Monday, November 22, 2021


By Heinz Richter

Every once in a while we are surprised by some unexpected news regarding Leica and its history.  Most Leica aficionados are familiar with Oskar Barnack.  After all, he is the father of the Leica and 35mm photography as we know it.  Few, however, are aware that there are two other Barnacks with a connection to the Leica, Oskar Barnack’s children Konrad and Hanna.

LEICA Barnack Berek Blog reader Chris Dorley-Brown from London, UK, sent me the following email:

Dear Heinz,

I have been looking at the Blog and wondered if you would be interested in this picture taken by my father in 1947, the man on the left is Konrad Barnack, son of Oskar.
My dad met Konrad as a British Army POW in WW2. Konrad was a prison orderly and taught my dad to speak German. They remained friends and after the war got together frequently. He gave dad a Leica and he shot one roll of Kodachrome but preferred his Rolleiflex so he gave it back to Konrad!  I still have that roll of Kodachrome which is in great condition after nearly 70 years. I am a photographer myself and always feel a connection with this part of the medium’s history, which I thought I would share with you.

best wishes

Chris Dorley-Brown

Konrad Barnack (left) with friends

That made me think of the fact that I had never seen a picture of Konrad Barnack, and I decided to look a bit further into this.  An internet search revealed a few more things.  Oscar Barnack had two children, Johanna, born in 1906, and Konrad, born in 1908.  Searching further I found a photograph, published by liveauctioneers.  It shows Konrad Barnack together with his sister Johanna.  They commented the following about this picture:
Konrad and Johanna Barnack
Photo Used with permission of liveauctioneers

"Barnack was particularly fond of Hanna’s blond locks; many photographs show her alone, several together with Konrad. There are only a few images of Konrad alone. A comparison with later pictures of the two indicates that these were taken in the summer of 1914. Konrad had started going to school, which is when boys began to wear sailor shirts. The gaze of the shy child is already mixed by the saucy expression of a future rascal. The children knew to keep still when their father was taking a photograph – this was true of the Ur-Leica too, as the film was not very sensitive. This is apparent from the shadows, which are not very differentiated. This is a very early image taken with the Ur-Leica."

An other picture of K
onrad and Hanna was apparently taken when they were of the approximate same age.  

Recently a reader of this blog from Austria contacted me, offering some additional photographs of Konrad and Hanna.  She wrote: The photos come from a thick old family photo book that I keep in my apartment in Vienna.   Hanna and my mother were classmates - these photos are, however, with my sister in Switzerland.  My mother's class kept a class register that everyone wrote into over the years. 

I came across it because I was working on the estate of my uncle Wolfgang Kitterle. He was a Leitz representative, employed by Schmidt & Co for four years in China and left a lot of business mail. I have now processed these, the originals will soon be sent to the Hessian Economic Archives, which are very interested in them.

Hanna Barnack and her friend Anneliese, Easter 1920

Hanna Barnack, Konrad Barnack and their friend Anneliese, April 10, 1920

Hanna Barnack and her friend Anneliese in 1921

For other articles on this blog please click on Blog Archive in the column to the right

To comment or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.

All ads present items of interest to Leica owners.


EDDYCAM - the first and only ergonomic elk-skin camera strap        


Click on image to enlar
Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Click on image to enlarge
Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography
Click on image to enlarge
Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment