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Photographic light exposure calculator used by US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2000.526.6

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    Photographic light exposure calculator used by US soldier


    Brief Narrative
    Cardboard photographic light meter used by Sergeant Walter E. Hunkler, medical technician, 160th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division, known as the Thunderbirds, from June 1943 to September 1945.In July 1943, Walter entered combat in Sicily and then advanced with his unit through Italy, France, and Germany. Walter’s unit was with the 157th Infantry when, on April 29, they arrived with the 45th Infantry at and liberated Dachau concentration camp in Germany. There were nearly 30,000 starving and dying prisoners in need of aid. Walter photographed the camp and prisoners with one of the two cameras that he carried. Walter’s Dachau photographs are part of this collection, 2000.526.1. Walter was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery while tending the wounded.
    use:  1945
    publication/distribution:  approximately 1934
    distribution: Darmstadt (Germany)
    publication: Racibórz (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Roberta E. Hunkler
    front, top, orange, white, and black ink : Rapid / BELICHTUNGS-ZAHLWERK / TAGES - / LICHT / BLENDE F/ / BELICHTUNGSZEITEN / EINSTELLUNG EINSTELLUNG [Rapid / Exposure Set of Figures / Daylight / Aperture F stop / Length of Exposure / Shot Shot]
    back, orange, white, and black ink : Rapid / BELICHTUNGS-ZAHLWERK / KUNST - / LICHT / BLENDE F/ / BELICHTUNGS - / ZEITEN / ORTHOCHROMATISCHER FILM / EINSTELLUNG / PANCHROMATISCHER FILM / BLENDE FUR BLITZLICHT / Photo – Kino – Brzoska / DARMSTADT / Elisabethenstr. 1 – 3 / D. R. G. M. / Druck und Verlag : Franz Lindner, Ratibor / Lindner, Generalvertretung Berlin-Schoneberg. Grunewaldstr 53 / Nr. 3314
    Subject: Walter E. Hunkler
    Distributor: Photo-Kino-Brzoska
    Publisher: Franz Lindner
    Walter Eugene Hunkler was born on February 8, 1915, in Washington, Illinois. He was the second of two children born to John and Bertha Geiger Hunkler. His parents were born in Switzerland and immigrated to the United States. John was a teamster and day laborer. Walter graduated from high school and became a bartender. He married and had a child, but later divorced.

    After the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the US and a few days later America entered World War II. On January 19, 1942, Walter was drafted into the US Army. Walter became a medical technician, assigned to a medical detachment, 160th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Thunderbird Division. In June 1943, the Division was deployed to Europe. Walter went into combat that July in Sicily, Italy. As the Division advanced through Italy and France, Walter participated in several campaigns: Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, and Ardennes-Alsace-Battle of the Bulge. In spring 1945, the Division advanced into Germany. Walter’s unit was operating with the 157th Infantry when, on April 29, 1945, the 45th Infantry liberated Dachau concentration camp in Germany. They discovered over 30,000 survivors in the camp and 2,310 corpses on a train. Walter witnessed and photographed atrocities, the horrible camp conditions, and the surviving inmates. Following Germany’s May 7 surrender, the 45th Infantry was stationed near Dachau. Walter returned to the US in September 1945, and was honorably discharged as a Technician Fourth Grade in October. He was deployed overseas for 691 Days; 511 of them in combat. He received a Bronze Star for bravery for risking his own safety while tending to the wounded, as well as many battle stars for campaigns where his unit fought.

    Walter returned to Washington, Illinois, and worked for the Central Illinois Light Company. In October 1956, Walter married Roberta Leighton (1916 – 2007). Walter did not speak about his wartime experiences. Only once, in 1947, did he allow Roberta to see the photographs he took at Dachau before sealing them inside a storage container where they remained for over fifty years. Walter, 76, died on September 8, 1991, in Peoria, Illinois.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Object Type
    Exposure meters (aat)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, double-sided offwhite cardboard light meter with a rotating disk attached near the top by a metal grommet. The body folds in half at the bottom to cover the disk. The top center is cut so the notched edges on the disk edge can be seen. The top half has a curved chart with text and number settings; the bottom has 2 cut out arched slots to view disk settings. The lower front of the card has a calendar table. The back upper left has a U-shaped window to display text printed on the disk. Both sides have a printed black background, orange border, and German text.
    overall: Height: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Width: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    overall : cardboard, ink, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The light calculator was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2000 by Roberta E. Hunkler, on behalf of the Estate of her husband, Walter E. Hunkler.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 16:40:44
    This page:

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