Hans Ertl (cameraman)

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Hans Ertl (21 February 1908 in Munich, Germany – 23 October 2000 in Chiquitania, Bolivia) was a German mountaineer and cinematographer.


He was a cameraman during the Nazi era, and worked with Leni Riefenstahl on several of her Nazi propaganda films as well as on her Olympia film. During World War II he was among the preferred cameramen accompanying (then) General Rommel which earned him a reputation as "Rommel's photographer".[citation needed]

In the mid-1950s he resettled in Bolivia where he made two "expedition film"-like documentaries of feature length. He embarked on a third, but ceased after his tractor crashed through a wooden bridge with two thirds of the (uninsured) exposed footage on board. Frustrated he then decided to become a farmer and retired to a piece of semi-jungle land in Eastern Bolivia.

Ertl was the father of the guerrillera Monika Ertl, he was also an acquaintance of Klaus Barbie and, earlier, supposedly a lover of Riefenstahl. He rarely returned to Germany where he felt cheated out of an important film award, but days before his death he reportedly asked his daughter in Bavaria to send him a bag of German soil. Ertl died in 2000 and he was buried on his farm which is now a museum.[1][2]

Famous ascents[edit]

  • 1930 First ascent of the Königspitze north face
  • 1931 First ascent of the Ortler north face
  • 1934 First ascent of Sia Kangri
  • 1950 First solo-climb of Illimani South, first ascent of Illimani North
  • 1951 Second ascent of Illampu
  • 1953 Camp 5 (6900 m) on Nanga Parbat, where he took the famous pictures of Hermann Buhl returning from his solo first ascent



  1. ^ Friedman-Rudovsky, Jean (September 23, 2008). "The Last Days of a Nazi-Era Photographer". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  2. ^ "Nazi-era photos surface in Bolivia". BBC. September 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23.

External links[edit]