History is often seen as a subject of cramming – what we often don’t appreciate, is how intertwined it is with our present. Dutch historian Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse tries to demonstrate that very literally with her Ghosts of War photo series, where she blends the present day and the original World War II pictures of the same place into one.
Jo spends hours looking for the locations and taking pictures that match the originals, and then photoshops them to combine the war ghosts into the current settings.
“I try to make people realise that history is all around us. That where you live, work or go to school, once people fought, died or simply experienced a different kind of life. We are history, history is us,” – she says.
The project reminds me of Shawn Clover’s Then and Now Blend of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The latter may be technically better, however Jo chose a more popular theme – WW2. This is probably one of the reasons Jo’s pictures became much more popular than Shawn’s.
Without further ado, here are some of our picks from this wonderful photo series with author’s comments.
“Cherbourg, avenue de Paris, ancient Poste de Police, jardin Public.”
“Captain WH Hooper, who commands the Company of the 314th IR of the 79th IUS D and some of his men surround a column of German prisoners. Column takes a southerly direction, it will join the POW camps located on the plateau of the Mountain Roule, near the farm of Fieffe.”
“Rue Armand Levéel à Cherbourg.”
“Corner covered, 1943, Acireale, Sicily”
“American troops in the center of Cherbourg pass under a balcony with English, American and French flags.”
“France, 1944. Rue des Fossés Plissons à Domfront (Orne). German soldiers surrendering.”
“At la Madeleine, a hamlet of the town of Sainte Marie du Mont, Utah Beach area. A group of U.S. Fire Engineering leaving the chapel.”
“Allied vehicles drive past Palace Noordeinde, The Hague, (may 1945)”
“German soldiers walking back to Germany after their surrender, walk passed a man with a Dutch flag. The Hague, may 1945.”
“Allied soldiers walking towards center of Eindhoven, September 18th 1944, Frankrijkstraat Eindhoven.”
“On may 7th (2 days after German capitulation) thousands of Dutch people were waiting for the liberators to arrive on the Dam square in Amsterdam…Then for some reason the Germans placed a machinegun on the balcony and started shooting into the crowds… It has always remained uncertain why it happened but the sad result was that at the brink of peace 120 people were badly injured and 22 died.”
“Auschwitz I, January 27th 1945. Russian soldiers with prisoners of Block 19, the quarantine blockhouse in the medical section of the camp.”
“Saint Marcouf (Manche)”
“People are waiting for the liberators. (may 1945)”
“Shopkeeper standing in front of his shop.”
“A group of civilians and GI’s in front of the notary office of Trévières Street Octave Mirbeau. The entrance is decorated with French and allied flags.”
“Rue Dom Pedro, civilians and American soldiers tear down the sign indicating the headquarters of the Todt organization in Cherbourg.”