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Hilde Lotz-Bauer
When did Hilde visit Scanno?

Hilde Lotz-Bauer
Procession for the feast of the Madonna del Carmine: original print on Agfa Brovira


By Robbie Griffiths

Until quite recently we couldn’t date precisely when Hilde visited any of the 100 places she photographed all over Italy. We always suspected that she visited Scanno more than once.

So recently we challenged the Fotoamatori Scanno to date several pictures that we thought had sufficient detail to elucidate an exact date. And they didn’t disappoint! In fact, it produced a lively conversation with 34 comments. The year was quickly identified – 1938 – but it took a few conversations before it could be finally nailed. Thanks to Michele Gentile, Roberto Accivile, Pietro Ciarletta & Amedeo Fusco, the procession has been dated as Saturday 16 July 1938.

Was it pure chance that she happened to be in Scanno for the feast of the Madonna del Carmine? We don’t think so. We have evidence that she had been to the Abruzzo on several occasions. So far we have identified 53 photos in the Lotz Family Archive that originated in the Abruzzo.

On the back of this next photo which Hilde had reproduced in 1977 by Nanini she identifies the date as 1934.

Photo Hilde :otz-Bauer
On reverse: Vecchio Pastore Abruzzese Foto Hilde Lotz 1934

And the next photo taken in Aquila she dates as 1935.

Photo Hilde Lotz-Bauer
On reverse: Aquila (Abbruzzi) Fontana delle 99 Cannelle. Principio 15. secolo. 1935 Foto Hilde Lotz

But what had been puzzling us for many years is a two-page spread (Nestling in the Italian mountains) in a German illustrated newspaper.

Helga Franke and Hilde Degenhard-Bauer

Beyers fur Alle second page Click on images to enlarge

The magazine [see update below] has now been identified as Beyers für Alle - Die Große Familien-Illustrierte (1937-38 Vol. 17) published by Verlag Otto Beyer in Leipzig. So it is fairly safe to assume that these photos were taken at the very latest in Spring 1938. The other evidence is the names of the two authors: Helga Franke and Dr. Degenhart-Bauer. Helga married the art dealer Günther Franke and Hilde married Bernhard Degenhart in 1935, so at the earliest it could have been 1935. Helga gave birth to Cornelie, their daughter in October 1936. Cornelie thought it unlikely that her mother would have been travelling around Italy taking photographs when she was pregnant, so one parameter for this article could be between 1935 and early 1936. On the other hand, it is unlikely that it took 2 years to publish these photos, in which case Helga took these photos when Cornelie was one year old!

Incidentally, the Helga connection reveals two important aspects about Hilde:

  1. Hilde was very good at making relationships and holding onto them – Cornelie is still a good friend of the Lotz family
  2. What thoroughly modern lives Helga and Hilde led. Independent professional women who didn't feel obliged to stick with failing relationships. Helga had a relationship with Bernhard Degenhart for three years (having agreed this from the start). Bernhard introduced Hilde to Helga. Helga's second husband had his first solo exhibition in Helga's first husband's gallery in Munich in 1940.

13 December 2020 / updated 9 February 2024

Update 30 January 2021

Luigi di Cicco kindly got in touch with us about the magazine which he thinks is Beyers für Alle - Die Große Familien-Illustrierte published by Verlag Otto Beyer in Leipzig.

This is his conclusion:

Italian English
penso di poter affermare con un certo grado di sicurezza che la rivista che cercate sia “Beyers für Alle - Die große Familien-Illustrierte”, magazine edito a Lipsia. Si tratta dell’unica rivista tedesca da me trovata che abbia un layout identico all’immagine presente sul vostro blog (stesso modo di indicare la “Seite” agli angoli superiori della pagina, stessa gestione dei font e delle immagini. Inoltre, se ho ben capito, la Beyers für Alle conteneva al centro una specie di inserto, cosa che potrebbe spiegare il salto di numerazione delle pagine.). Altro al momento non ho trovato, spero comunque che la mia indicazione sia giusta e che possa essere utile per le vostre future ricerche in loco (presso le emeroteche etc.). I think I can say with a certain degree of confidence that the magazine you are looking for is "Beyers für Alle - Die große Familien-Illustrierte ”, magazine published in Leipzig. This is the only German magazine I found that has a layout identical to the image on your blog (same way of indicating the "Seite" in the upper corners of the page, same font and image management. I understand, the Beyers für Alle contained a kind of insert in the center, which could explain the page numbering jump.). At the moment I have not found anything else, I still hope that my indication is right and that it can be useful for your future research on site (at newspaper libraries, etc.).