Walter [ Wally ] Sanders

     One of Life Magazines greatest staff members was Walter Sanders.   He was born in Germany but left in 1933 when Hitler came to power.  Walter was a combat photographer for Life during World War Two.  He had been employed with Life from 1944 to 1961.  Sanders brought with him to Life Magazine, his great skills that he developed as a young man in Germany.  He died in his home in Munich, Germany.  Walter, according to Life Photographer Carl Mydans,  played a major role in the making of Life Magazine.

Walter Sanders was the one photographer in 1946 to do a story on the US Constabulary in Bamberg, Germany.

 Walter Sanders took the assignment in New York to go to Paris in Feb. in 1946.  He was thinking it would be for a couple of weeks.  He was away a lot longer than that.  The rest of his things were sent to him in Germany a year later.
     To be in the ideal place to cover all of Europe, Walter found Germany to be the best.  Being born there, he decided to visit his old neighborhood in Berlin.  He hadn't seen it since he left Germany.  The year Walter arrived in the U.S. was in 1937.   He covered the story for that trip in The Road Back to Berlin {Life, Nov. 11, 1946}.   Another story he worked on from Berlin was: Renaissance Man [first of the Western Culture series, Mar. 3, 1947].   Pre-Election Report on Italy [Apr. 12, 1948].   Report on the Occupation [Feb. 10, 1947] is another.
     Then there was the one with coverage of the U.S. Constabulary troop in Western Germany [Life, Aug. 26, 1946.
As Walter arrived at the Bayreuth parade ground, he found that a "helpful" commander had already deployed the men in the blazing sun into somewhat a way that he thought it would make a great picture.  As you would imagine, there was no way to get the whole troop into that picture.  Sanders got a new grouping but by this time the sun had moved.  The men had to be shifted again.  Sanders finally took his pictures from a light plane and again from the top of a fire truck extension latter.  When he came down the commander pinned onto Sanders an regiment insignia which was taken from a soldier's shoulder.  "You're now an honorary member of the 6th Constabulary,"  said the commander, "for bravery above and beyond the call of duty.  Or didn't you know that by the time you got on that latter every gun was pointed at you and every finger was itching on the trigger?"  Sanders proudly wore the insignia until correspondents stopped wearing uniforms.
     Sanders became a photographer almost by accident.  He was one who studies economics in Germany.  His first camera was bought to take photos of his baby daughter.  These photos were very successful and Agfa used one for a display.  It was from this he drifted into photography.  Walter worked for the best German Picture Magazines.  The SS began to hound him for "non-Aryan" activities.
     Walter's  first work for Life was in 1938.  There after he began doing Life assignments regularly and in 1944 he joined the staff. While he was in Bamberg for this photo spread of the U.S. Constabulary, he noticed a familiar picture in a camera store window.  It was an Agfa display--and they were still using his daughter's baby picture.

We thank Ed Bowley for sending in the above information.
Ed was working in Headquarters when Walter Sanders arrived in Bamberg.  Ed had the pleasure not only to meet Walter Sanders but to show him around and answer his questions.

To view some of Sanders photos of the Constabulary in 1946 
Constabulary Home Page 
   Ed Bowley's story.