© Heinrich Hoffmann, late 1920s, Hitler posing to a recording of one of his speeches

Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), strikes a pose for photographer Heinrich Hoffmann whilst listening to a recording of his own speeches. These photographs taken reveal how Adolf Hitler rehearsed his hand gestures for his public speeches. He used to ask Hoffmann to take pictures of these so he could see what he would look like to the German people, as one of Hitler’s greatest and most well-known skills was his public speaking, which he used to his advantage to emphasise his notion of a "great national revival" of Germany.

Once he saw them, he would vet the pictures and decide whether to incorporate the various animated movements in his engagements. Hitler later banned them from being published for being "beneath one’s dignity". But the photos, which were never intended to be seen, survived the war. The vetoed photos were stored in Hoffmann’s studio until his arrest at the end of the war, whereupon they disappeared into various archives.

They were later published in his little-known memoir, “Hitler Was My Friend”, in the 1950s and have now been released in English to be seen by the general public. They capture the meticulous training Hitler undertook to perfect his famous speeches, and give a rare insight into his vanity and controlling personality. (more photos and info here: +, +, +)