CHGS's collection of Maxine Rude photographs is available on UMedia Archive. Please access the collection of images there.
Maxine Rude was a photographer for the United States Army and then for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). The organization was formed to help the approximately 21 million people displaced throughout war-torn Europe.
Working out of UNRRA Headquarters in Washington D.C., Rude was assigned to Germany in 1945. With equipment on loan from the Air Force, and working from a makeshift darkroom set up in the former I. G. Farben Chemical complex in Hoechst, her assignment was to record UNRRA operations. Rude and her assistant, Norman Weaver, who was later awarded the Order of the British Empire for his service, processed film and made enlargements in the former medical clinic, using the marble walls for drying prints. Although most of the work represented in this exhibition was done in Germany, she traveled to seventeen countries in Europe making hundreds of exposures, with barely enough time to concentrate on any one particular aspect of the project.
Familiar with the UNRRA camps through her extensive travels, Rude became an escort for VIP tours out of Washington D.C., and in that capacity spent two days observing the Nuremberg Trials from the press box. Unfortunately for her, her work for UNRRA ended in 1946 before the first repatriation ship sailed to Palestine (Israel), thus she was not able to cover the event. Much of the original material - prints and negatives - are now housed in the UNRRA archives in New York City.
Rude was born in Viroqua, Wisconsin in 1921. She married Leonard Rude in 1940. It was with Leonard that she explored her love for photography. After World War II she traveled to South America, taking photographs for the World Health Organization in South America, including events in Bogota, Columbia, and in the malaria-infested jungles of Panama and Suriname. In 1989, she photographed the fight for democracy in Tiananmen Square in China. She died on February 29, 2012 in Arizona.