Did you know that a famous World War II photo hides evidence of illegal looting?

The photo Raising a Flag over the Reichstag. You can see the two watches by zooming in.
(Photo: Yevgeny Khaldei)
The iconic photo titled Raising a Flag over the Reichstag, taken by Red Army photographer Yevgeny Khaldei on May 2, 1945, is one of the most recognizable images of World War II and symbolizes the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany and the occupation of Berlin.
Once the picture was taken, Khaldei quickly returned to Moscow to have the film developed. The photo was slated to appear in the magazine Ogonyok, but the editor-in-chief discovered a peculiar detail: the soldier supporting his comrade for safety was wearing a watch on each wrist! Soviet soldiers were notorious in Eastern and Central Europe for looting watches (including taking them by force from civilians), a crime punishable by execution (at least on paper) in the Soviet Union, and it seemed like the man on the photo was guilty of it. Khaldei edited the image by removing one of the watches (and also adding some more smoke to make it more dramatic). It was later also claimed that the second round object was a wrist-mounted compass – but if that’s true, then why bother removing it?
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