Photo of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Adolf Hitler at school among their classmates

This unique photograph allows us to compare the faces of schoolboys Wittgenstein and Hitler when they were just schoolkids.

Here, we see the faces of six boys of the same age.

In the second line, to the left we see a boy who is looking at us without any particular facial expression. He is just looking in the front of himself following the general instructions of the photographer.

To his left hand, in the middle of the second line we see a boy who is looking to the side – who has noticed something that doesn’t deserve particular attention.

In the middle of the first line the boy looking at us generically is, as if demonstrating to the photographer his independence.

And in the first line to the right we see a kid who is looking at the camera almost attentively and by this, as if, demonstrate his positive – based on his barely noticeable smile, presence in life.

Finally, we’re coming to Wittgenstein (to the left of the first line). He is looking without showing that he is seeing something – his function of seeing is subordinate to that of thinking not necessarily in this very moment, but as an experience of thinking before this particular situation of posing for a collective photo. We can say that his gaze is meaningful not because he is in this very moment thinking something meaningful but because he is very often thinking in his life. His gaze is hidden by a deeper than the usual sockets of his eyes, as if he looks outside from the cave of tranquility.

Now we are coming to Adolf Hitler with feeling of being a little uncomfortable by the intensity not of his gaze as such but of his whole posture. He is, as if, challenging the photographer and us looking at this photo – with his very existence and expecting from us to notice his toughness and take him seriously. His left hand is under his right arm – this, as if, creates the impression of his independence. He wants us to think that he is a “tough cookie”, that he doesn’t give a damn about this photo taking event. We understand that this boy was abused and prematurely developed a psychological armor, that he is prone to “challenge the world”. His gaze is militantly straight, as if, he wants the photographer and even the camera to put their gazes down in front of him.