The Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie arriving in Geneva to ask help from the League of Nations against Mussolini's Fascist invasion of Ethiopia
Gelatin silver print, modern
9 1/8 x 13 9/16 ins
Courtesy of the Lucien Aigner Estate
"My encounter with Haile Selassie was one of my most memorable meetings with a celebrity I can remember. The photographs I took of him I rate among my best. The one included here is perhaps the closest to what I consider an ideal candid photograph.
The picture was taken at the Geneva railroad station when he arrived to appear before the General Assembly to plead the case of his country against the Italian invader...
Mussolini moved into Ethiopia for several reasons. He had been watching Hitler's success with jaundiced eyes, craving a glorious adventure to enhance his own greatness. Ethiopia appeared a rich prize...The Duce went ahead with the Ethiopian war in spite of British and French protests. The conflict was brought before the League [of Nations] by Ethiopia, asking for protection...
There were hardly any newsmen on the platform at the station, perhaps because of the announcement of strict security measures preceding the Emperor's arrival. In fact I was practically alone with the few security guards whom I knew and who knew me. When the train pulled in I had no difficulty approaching the Emperor's railroad carriage...
He appeared sorrowful, but full of dignity. A truly imperial figure in his affliction. He acknowledged the few salutes of those on the platform and started his walk toward the exit. No words were spoken. Only glances exchanged. I had never experienced so much meaning in a silent scene..."
Lucien Aigner, from his unpublished memoirs