Digitization of Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s Trip to Germany

 

by Laura Kintz, Audiovisual Metadata Cataloger

We are pleased to announce that all White House Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s trip to Germany in June of 1963 are now digitized in full. Over two dozen photographs from the trip had previously been cataloged, but all 153 photographs are now accessible online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s digital archives.

 

These photographs, covering June 23 to June 26, 1963, document President Kennedy’s only official trip to what was then a divided Germany. He spent four days in West Germany, also known as the Federal Republic of Germany, inaugurating a 10-day trip to Europe that also included visits to Ireland, England, and Italy. During those four days, the President visited several cities and towns, including Bonn, Cologne, Hanau, Frankfurt, and West Berlin. He delivered remarks, met with government officials, signed cities’ “Golden Books” for distinguished guests, visited with U.S. Embassy employees and members of the U.S. military, and greeted German well-wishers. Occurring during a contentious time in Germany’s history, President Kennedy’s visit represented the United States’ commitment to supporting West Germany and its leaders, including Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Heinrich Lübke.

 

KN-C29231 23 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Bonn: Arrival, Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany pictured, 9:50AM Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29231. 23 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Arrives at Wahn Airport in Bonn, Germany. Chancellor of West Germany, Konrad Adenauer, stands right of President Kennedy.

 

ST-C230-33-63 23 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Cologne: Motorcade, Cathedral [Note: Scratches and blemishes throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-33-63. 23 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade in Cologne, Germany.

 

KN-C29295 23 June 1963 President John F. Kennedy addresses an assembled crowd in Market Square while standing on the stair landing of the Rathaus. Photograph includes: President Kennedy, interpreter Robert H. Lochner, Eunice Shriver (partially hidden), officials, and spectators. Rathaus, Bonn, Germany. Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29295. 23 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Speaks at Old City Hall in Bonn, Germany.

 

KN-C29312 24 June 1963 President John F. Kennedy poses on the steps of Villa Hammersmidt with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Heinrich Luebke and other officials. President Kennedy was attending a meeting with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer during his trip to Gemany. Villa Hammerschmidt, Bonn, Germany. Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29312. 24 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy with President of West Germany, Dr. Heinrich Lübke, at Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn, Germany.

 

ST-C230-42-63 25 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Frankfurt: Frankfurt Rathaus, 3:15PM [Scratches throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-42-63. 25 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy at City Hall in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

Among President Kennedy’s numerous speeches in Germany was one given at the signing of the charter for the German Development Service, an organization equivalent to the Peace Corps. The President’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Secretary-General of the International Peace Corps, Richard Goodwin, were also present at the ceremony.

 

ST-C230-41-63 24 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Bonn: Villa Hammerschmidt, Peace Corps Ceremony, 11:40AM [Note: Scratches and blemishes throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-41-63. 24 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Speaks at Signing of Charter Establishing German Development Service in Bonn, Germany. Secretary-General of the International Peace Corps, Richard Goodwin, stands near center right.

 

KN-C29301 23 June 1963 President John F. Kennedy greets several officials during a meeting with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Photograph includes: President Kennedy, Eunice Shriver, President Heinrich Luebke, and a crowd of officials, guests, and photographers. Villa Hammerschmidt, Bonn, Germany. Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29301. 24 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy at Signing of Charter Establishing German Development Service in Bonn, Germany. Eunice Kennedy Shriver stands at center, wearing yellow.

 

President Kennedy also took the time to visit American troops stationed at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, a military base in the town of Hanau. He viewed military displays and had lunch in the mess hall, where military cooks presented him with a cake in the shape of PT-109, the boat that the President commanded during World War II.

 

KN-C29255 25 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Hanau: Arrival at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, address, and inspection of troops and equipment, 10:45AM Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29255. 25 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Inspects Military Troops and Equipment at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, Germany.

 

ST-C230-28-63 25 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Hanau: Arrival at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, address, and inspection of troops and equipment, 10:45A [Note: Scratches and blemishes throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-28-63. 25 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Inspects Military Troops and Equipment at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, Germany.

 

KN-C29386 25 June 1963 PT-109 cake presented to President John F. Kennedy by unidentified Army Chefs. Troop Mess, Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Hanau, Germany. Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29386. 25 June 1963
PT-109 Cake to Commemorate President John F. Kennedy’s Visit to Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, Germany.

 

Of significance during President Kennedy’s trip to Germany were his remarks delivered at Rudolph Wilde Platz outside West Berlin’s city hall, Rathaus Schöneberg, on June 26. In this speech, the President famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or “I am a Berliner.” One photograph from this event was previously cataloged, but newly-available photos provide different vantage points of the large crowds who gathered for the occasion.

 

ST-C230-17-63 26 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy addresses crowd at Rathaus Schöneberg, 12:50PM [Scratches throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-17-63. 26 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy at Rudolph Wilde Platz in Berlin, Germany.

 

KN-C29217 26 June 1963 Crowd and cameramen gathered in West Berlin to listen to President John F. Kennedy's address during his trip to Germany. Rathaus, West Berlin, Germany. Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29217. 26 June 1963
Crowds Gather for President John F. Kennedy’s Address at Rudolph Wilde Platz in Berlin, Germany.

 

West Berlin was not the only site where crowds converged to see President Kennedy. The entire trip was characterized by throngs of people who took to the streets and plazas of West Germany to see the President, either as his motorcade passed by or as he delivered remarks. These photographs provide evidence of the sheer volume of people who gathered for the President’s visit.

 

ST-C230-15-63 23 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Cologne: Kölner Rathaus (City Hall) Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-15-63. 23 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall in Cologne, Germany.

 

ST-C231-19-63 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C231-19-63. 1963
President John F. Kennedy’s Motorcade in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

KN-C29246 26 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy addresses Free University, 3:30PM Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29246. 26 June 1963
Crowds Gather for President John F. Kennedy’s Address at Free University in Berlin, Germany.

 

One notable result of cataloging these photographs was that metadata catalogers were able to identify numerous people who had previously been unidentified in the White House Photographs collection. Using both textual and audiovisual resources within the Kennedy Library’s collections, as well as contemporary newspaper accounts, Ancestry.com, and other resources, we were able to add 19 names to the Kennedy Library’s database of personal name browsing terms. Among them are: Director of Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) in Berlin, Robert Lochner, who served as President Kennedy’s translator for much of the trip; several members of the United States Armed Forces who were stationed in Germany, including Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army in Europe, General Paul L. Freeman, Jr., Commander in Chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, General Truman H. Landon and U.S. Army in Europe Project Officer, Colonel Frank Meszar; and Rector of Free University in Berlin, Ernst Heinitz, who conferred an honorary citizenship award upon the President on his last day in Germany.

 

KN-C29242 23 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Cologne: Kölner Rathaus (City Hall) Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29242. 23 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall in Cologne, Germany. Director of Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) in Berlin and translator for President Kennedy, Robert Lochner, stands on platform at right.

 

ST-C230-8-63 25 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, Hanau: Arrival at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, address, and inspection of troops and equipment, 10:45A [Note: Scratches throughout image are original to the negative.] Please credit "Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-ST-C230-8-63. 25 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy Inspects Military Troops and Equipment at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, Germany. General Truman H. Landon and General Paul L. Freeman, Jr., stand right of President Kennedy. Colonel Frank Meszar stands in background at center (face partially obscured).

 

KN-C29292 26 June 1963 Trip to Europe: Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy addresses Free University, 3:30PM [Note: Horizontal streaks are original to the negative.] Please credit "Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

JFKWHP-KN-C29292. 26 June 1963
President John F. Kennedy at Free University in Berlin, Germany. President Kennedy receives an honorary citizenship award from University Rector, Ernst Heinitz.

 

President Kennedy’s trip to Germany represented a significant diplomatic venture of his presidency. The photographs from the trip, long available for viewing onsite at the Kennedy Library, may now be found by online users all over the world. In addition to the inclusion of browsing terms for individual people, other terms have been added to the photographs to aid in searching for specific subjects, places, and organizations. The images offer insight into President Kennedy’s travels to a much broader audience as a result.

 

Browse all photos from President Kennedy’s trip to Germany:

Germany, Bonn: Arrival, Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany pictured

Germany, Cologne: Kölner Rathaus (City Hall)

Germany, Cologne: Motorcade, Cathedral

Germany, Bonn: City Hall, ceremonies and remarks

Germany, Bonn: Address at the American Community Theater before the American Embassy staff

Germany, Bonn: Villa Hammerschmidt, Peace Corps Ceremony

Germany, Bonn: President Kennedy gives a press conference

Germany, Bonn: President Kennedy with Heinrich Lübke

Germany, Bad Godesburg, U.S. Ambassador’s Residence: President Kennedy signs Golden Book

Germany, Hanau: Arrival at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, address, and inspection of troops and equipment

Germany, Hanau: President Kennedy has lunch with U.S. enlisted troops and their officers at Fliegerhorst Kaserne

Germany, Hanau: Departure from Fliegerhorst Kaserne

Germany, Frankfurt: Frankfurt Rathaus

Germany, Frankfurt: President Kennedy gives address in Roemerberg Square

Germany, Frankfurt: President Kennedy at Paulskirche

Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy arrives at Tegel Airport

Germany, West Berlin, President Kennedy views the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate

Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy at Checkpoint Charlie

Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy addresses crowd at Rathaus Schöneberg

Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy in motorcade with Willy Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany

Germany, West Berlin: President Kennedy addresses Free University

 

5 comments for “Digitization of Photographs from President John F. Kennedy’s Trip to Germany

  1. Steve Butzel
    December 21, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Great job, Laura! Love the photos and the blog entry. Say hi to Karen Abramson for me.

  2. adam c.
    December 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks for making them available online!

  3. Reinhard R. Weth
    December 30, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    I was a 15 year old German kid when JFK visited Germany – and there was actually nobody here in my country who did NOT love and admired him except those very, very few left and right wing radicals then. What a great time – in spite of the cold war – when there was respect, friendship and mutual understanding not only between the politicians of both countries but also common German citizens and the here stationed American soldiers. Respect, friendship and understanding which unfortunately seems to crumble today due to the unspeakable isolationist and obviously humanity despising politics of POTUS elected Donald “Duck” Trump. Can you imagine my sadness…?

  4. Helmut Heisig
    February 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pics about the visit of President John F.Kennedy in Germany.
    Unfortunately I was 2 years old,as JFK was in my homeland Germany.
    John F.Kennedy is my political idol and the main reasons for me to stay for holidays in Washington D.C. in 1982 and 1985 was to visit his gravesite and to see live the places,where President John F.Kennedy acted.

  5. Filipe
    February 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Ich bin ein berliner was one of his most outstanding speeches. A praise for liberty and a strong and firm criticism of totalitarian states. His words gave people hope of a better tomorrow. Still missed today, more than 50 years after his tragic death

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