Pity the poor photographer. He walked 60 high school seniors from Baraboo High School over to the local courthouse steps. Stood them on the steps and took their picture while they apparently gave a Nazi salute.
Somehow the New York Times and Newsweek got hold of the picture and made him and Baraboo High School famous. The picture even prompted an elderly Jewish woman to recall that a German submarine torpedoed a ship she happened to be on in World War Two. This was an anti-Semitic act that somehow rivaled the picture on the courthouse steps.
Besides the coverage by the Times and Newsweek, the Juneau County Star times devoted an entire page to the story that was put together by three reporters from the Baraboo area. Since the most noteworthy event in Juneau County at the time was a pier in Mauston’s Riverside Park breaking away from its moorings and began floating down the Lemonweir River on its way to Lyndon Station, it was probably OK to do the one page story on the Baraboo event. The pier for those who missed it was eventually lassoed by the Mauston Public Works cowboys and returned to Riverside Park.
The photographer by his own admission said he had asked the boys to give him a high sign, a wave that they are saying goodbye to their parents. One of the boys who didn’t wave said he thought some of the boys were making the Nazi salute because of the amount of tension they showed in their arms. There was no information on what any of the others boys thought or if the photographer had asked them to wave.
Although one of the reporters for the article in the Star-Tmes normally writes humorous columns, it’s doubtful if the photographer who took the picture thinks there was anything funny about the caption that was put on his picture by the reporters linking it to a Nazi salute.
Robert Firlus, Mauston