Hart auf Hart ” means, loosely translated ” Hard Times”. The book deals with the 15 years my father spent in Russia as an Engineer. He was a chemical Engineer, specialising in explosives.
The book contains photos of starving people, which my father took in the Ukraine. They were taken with a now famous Leica and were used in an international study, which took place in the 1950ties and dealt with the Ukrainian famine of the thirties. (On the Internet) My mother gave your grandfather my father’s Leica as a wedding present.
My father was recruited into the Austrian Army (of the Austro-Hungarian empire) during the Great War (The First World War,) he was taken prisoner by the Russians and stayed on in Russia after the Austrians lost the war. Russia Became Communist under Lenin and Stalin and all factories became owned by the State. Though my father worked under Stalin, he hated Communism and he made himself very unpopular with the Communist Party. Stalin was a very cruel man. His most infamous prison was the Lubjanka and my father spent some time there. Being an analytical chemist, my father was an outstanding photographer all his life. It is important for you to know that he was busy inventing colour photography in the 1930ties when I was a little girl (born 1931) and was allowed to watch him work in his darkroom. In the late 1930ties he also worked on 3D photography. I was often a guinea pig having to look at his work to see if I could see “real people”.
Among other things, he worked on Instant Coffee in the forties, which my mother had to taste. It was a paste. He told me that the real Instant Coffee should be made into freeze-dried granules but he had neither the facilities nor the money to do this.
Memories from Alexander’s daughter
Note: It seems that Alex and I have a lot in common. His experimental nature, pushing the boundaries of science and photography. I think he done this is a much more elegant manor and I am proud to know this is where this part of my personality comes from.