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The Last Man to Die
When Hitler came to power in 1933, the photojournalist Erne Friedmann left Berlin for Paris. He became involved with Gerda Taro, a journalist and photographer from Leipzig. Together they invented the elusive photographer Robert Capa. French editors thought he was a renowned American cameraman, while Americans thought he was French. In this way he commanded higher fees from both. In 1936 Capa and Taro covered the Civil War in Spain, where she was killed. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Capa landed on Omaha Beach with the first wave of American troops. The following April he entered Leipzig with the Americans. Capa observed a heavy weapons company fighting from a deserted apartment building, when he witnessed the death of 21-year-old machine gunner Raymond J. Bowman. His was the last casualty in Capa’s sector, the final death of the hundreds he had seen in World War II. His photographs from Leipzig appeared in LIFE magazine on May 14, 1945.
from Touchstones of the Twentieth Century: A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame (exhibition, 2020-21)