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The brink of oblivion: Color photos from Nazi-occupied Poland
German photographer Hugo Jaeger enjoyed unprecedented access to the Third Reich as an ardent Nazi, often traveling with Adolf Hitler to rallies. His photos so touched the Fuhrer that Hitler famously declared, upon first seeing Jaeger's work: "The future belongs to color photography." LIFE.com is now presenting a series Jaeger's photographs from the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, including scenes from Warsaw and Kutno, a town 75 miles west of the Polish capital.

A look through Hugo Jaeger's lens

Elderly Jewish man speaks with German officers rounding up Kutno Jews, German-occupied Poland, 1939. (Hugo Jaeger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A look through Hugo Jaeger's lens

Unidentified young women, Kutno, Nazi-occupied Poland, 1939. (Hugo Jaeger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A look through Hugo Jaeger's lens

Warsaw, Nazi-occupied Poland, 1940. The signs read: "Typhus area. Passage permitted only while traveling." (Hugo Jaeger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A look through Hugo Jaeger's lens

Warsaw, Nazi-occupied Poland, 1940. The sign warns: "Danger zone, do not proceed." (Hugo Jaeger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The brink of oblivion: Color photos from Nazi-occupied Poland

German photographer Hugo Jaeger enjoyed unprecedented access to the Third Reich as an ardent Nazi, often traveling with Adolf Hitler to rallies. His photos so touched the Fuhrer that Hitler famously declared, upon first seeing Jaeger's work: "The future belongs to color photography." LIFE.com is now presenting a series Jaeger's photographs from the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, including scenes from Warsaw and Kutno, a town 75 miles west of the Polish capital.

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