Albert Klein


Bronze Star recipient Albert Klein graduated from Waukegan High School and learned the photographer’s trade from his father, Herman, who owned North Shore Studios at 4 N. Genesee St. During World War II, Albert was commissioned as a lieutenant and served in the US Army Signal Corps as a combat photographer.

Klein served directly under Colonel Darryl F. Zanuck, founder of movie studio Twentieth Century Fox. Zanuck would eventually publish the journal he kept during the North African campaign under the title Tunis Expedition. The Waukegan Historical Society maintains a copy of this book at the Raymond Library. Darryl Zanuck’s documentation of the combat in North Africa is noteworthy because his film crews used color film and, unlike the often-staged Russian and German combat footage, Zanuck’s cameraman filmed on the move to give the sensation of being on the ground with the troops.

Klein is mentioned throughout Tunis Expedition and we are first made aware of his heroism as Zanuck relates how during the landing assault Klein took out a German machine gun nest with a grenade in one hand and a camera in the other. Klein would leave the war a captain and retired from the Army Reserve as a colonel.

In 1948, Albert established Klein’s North Shore Studios at 7 S. County St. In 1958 Klein would become the first photographer to be certified by the Northern Illinois Professional Photographer’s Association (a group affiliated with Professional Photographer’s Association). Klein remained a commercial photographer in Waukegan until 1965. In 1966, Klein moved to Florida and opened several McDonald restaurant franchises.

The Waukegan Historical Society has in its archive four photographs by Albert Klein. Two of these, Sudden Death, African Style (1942) and The Beginning of the End, Africa (1943) capture events in the North African campaign. A third is simply entitled Harbor Sunrise. The fourth, a commercial image, is entitled The Organist. The exact provenance of these photographs is not known.

The Photographs

Sudden Death, African Style (1942). Albert Klein. 10" x 13". This particularly graphic image is of a bombed out truck in either Algeria or Tunisia. Note the human remains still in the cab of the truck. The reverse is inscribed “SUDDEN DEATH: One of a series of pictures taken during a survey of damage inflicted by the 1st Armored Division artillery in Africa. This vehicle was only one in a group of 35 to 40 vehicles which tried to run thru a concentration zone of our artillery fire.”


The Beginning of the End, Africa (1943). Albert Klein. 10" x 13". Klein described this historically significant photo as a “News Type Photo”. The reverse is inscribed, “ Hq. 1st Armored Division, Africa, May 7, 1943; German officers representing General Krause, commander of the German forces opposing the Americans, arranging for the surrender of German forces. Officer wearing boots with back to camera is Maj. General Maurice Rose who was later killed in Germany while surrendering himself.”


Harbor Sunrise. 10" x 13". Albert Klein.


The Organist. 10" x 13". Albert Klein.

Posted on June 6, 2012 and filed under Arts.