The old man looks relaxed, almost happy chatting to the soldiers. He and most of the other Jewish citizens pictured here in 1939 and 1940, are smiling, seemingly pleased to pose for photographer Hugo Jaeger.
Yet we know, 70 years later, that these people, and thousands of others like them, were in fact prisoners, to be despised as 'rats' and 'parasites' in Nazi propaganda.
Even more surprising, Jaeger was Hitler's personal photographer, enjoying unprecedented access to the Third Reich’s upper echelon, traveling with the Fuhrer to his massive rallies and photographing him at intimate parties and during private moments.
The photos have been released to mark the official establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto in October 1940 and the entire set are on display at Life.com here.
They were taken in the town of Kutno, 75 miles west of the Polish capital Warsaw.
Although a staunch Nazi, Jaeger as a photographer perhaps perceived the Polish Jews as fascinating subjects and his work depicts their tragic circumstances while at the same time allowing them to retain their humanity and dignity.
Apart from the odd soldier, there is very little German military presence. Instead the series shows the devastation in the landscape of the German invasion of Poland, while revealing very little of the 'master race' itself.
Exactly what Jaeger had in mind is of course a matter of guesswork, but from the reactions of the people portrayed in these images in Warsaw and Kutno, there appears to be surprising little hostility between the photographer and his subjects.
Jaeger's photos made such an impression on the Führer that he announced, upon first seeing his work: 'The future belongs to color photography.'
But beyond recording Hitler’s endless travels, Jaeger also documented the progress of the Reich, including the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.
The Kutno pictures serve as a unique curiosity. Why, instead of focussing of the glories of the Hitler's third Reich, did a staunch Nazi like Jaeger chose to take pictures of conquered Jews?
In June 1940, all 8,000 of Kutno’s Jews were rounded up and taken to what would be their new home - the grounds of an old sugar factory - where hundreds would die of hunger and Typhus.
Poles and Jews, friends and neighbours, were separated from one another. A Jewish council, the Judenrat, was created and tasked with forcing Jews to obey their German overlords.