Ich werde mich nie bei der Polizei beschweren - I will never again complain to the Police
In the book “The Pictorial History of the Holocaust” published by Yad Vashem, the picture (to the left) appears on page 26 with the accompanying caption:
"Dr. Spiegel, a Jewish lawyer, being marched in Munich under SA escort; the sign he wears reads: "I shall never again complain to the police". He was later murdered in the Dachau concentration camp."
The Photo Archives of Yad Vashem was contacted by Mr. Peter Sinclair concerning this photograph. In his email Peter Sinclair stated that the person referred to as Dr. Spiegel, was actually his father, Dr. Michael Siegel, and he did not perish in the Dachau concentration camp.
Mr. Sinclair, the son of Dr. Michael Siegel, described the events surrounding this photo:
On March 10th,1933 Dr. Michael Siegel a prominent Jewish lawyer in Munich, went to the Munich police station to intercede on behalf of a Jewish client, Max Uhlfelder, the owner of a large city-center store. The windows of his well-known store had been smashed by Nazi stormtroopers the previous day and Mr. Uhlfeder was taken to Dachau concentration camp.
Dr. Michael Siegel was thrown into a basement room at the Munich Police HQ, and severely beaten by a troop of S.A storm troopers. He had several teeth knocked out and his eardrum was perforated. He was then marched though the streets of Munich, barefoot, bleeding and with his pants cut-off at the knees. Two lines of S.A escorts "accompananied" Dr. Siegel as he was paraded through the streets. Dr. Siegel was made to carry a board around his neck with the words: "Ich bin Jude aber ich will mich nie mehr bei der Polizei Beschweren"[I am a Jew but I will never again complain to the Police].
Two photographs of the incident were taken at two locations near each other by a professional photojournalist named Heinrich Sanden. He had used an old-fashioned professional camera with 9 x 12 plates rather than a roll film camera. Local newspapers refused to publish the pictures. As they were potentially of great danger to him personally, Sanden decided to get rid of the photographic plates as quickly as possible. He telephoned the Berlin agent of an American press agency, the “International News Photographic Service”, sold the plates to them and mailed them immediately to Berlin. The Berlin agent shipped the 2 plates to Washington DC. When the plates reached the newspaper, it became obvious that the writing on the board, which Dr. Siegel had carried around his neck, could not be read clearly owing to the relatively poor quality of the lens and the distance between the camera and the subject. The negative was touched up, based on Sanden’s recollections of what he had seen. Unfortunately, his memory was not entirely consistent or accurate. The photographs were published for the first time on the front page of the “Washington Times” on 23rd March 1933. The photographs were subsequently also published many times by the media throughout the world . They still appear now from time to time, in newspapers, books, school textbooks, exhibitions and on television.
Dr. Siegel and his wife escaped from Germany at the very last minute, in August 1940, to Lima, Peru. This journey began in Berlin on the Trans-Siberian Express via Moscow, Novo-Sibirsk, Omsk, Harbin, to Korea and then to Japan, followed by a Pacific ocean crossing to Los Angeles and then on to Peru.