Capa, born Endre Ernö Friedmann, Robert, born on 22-10-1913 in Budapest, Hungary, as Endre Friedmann the second of the three sons of Dezső Friedmann and Júlia Henrietta Friedmann. Always irrepressible, the teenage Capa ran afoul of the Hungarian government by promoting left-wing politics. He spent a few days in jail before his father managed to get him out. Deciding that there was little future under the regime in Hungary, he left home in 1931 at the age of 18 after finishing high school. He found work in photography in Berlin and grew to love the art. In 1933, he moved from Germany to France because of the rise of Nazism, but found it difficult to find work there as a freelance journalist. He adopted the name “Robert Capa” around this time – in fact “cápa” (“a shark”) was his nickname in school. Like most he had faults, but his faults were invariably charming and his virtues never boring. He dressed well, ate well, and picked up the check. He drank frequently, but never to get drunk. From 1936 to 1939, he was in Spain, photographing the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.
At the start of World War II, Capa was in New York City. He had moved there from Paris to look for new work and to escape Nazi persecution and met Gerda Taro and would work with her. The war took Capa to various parts of the European Theatre on photography assignments. Capa jumped into Sicily with the paratroops
and went on to the attack on “the soft under belly of the Axis” in the cold grim winter campaign of 1943-44. Soon after Anzio he left Italy for London, and a wild intermission of poker playing and partying with such old friends as correspondent Ernest Hemingway. On June 6, 1944, an assault barge landed Robert Capa on Omaha Beach. Stumbling ashore under heavy fire, he exposed four rolls of the most famous films in history. (see Philippe Kieffer)
As luck would have it, all but eleven frames were ruined in Life’s London darkroom when the emulsion ran in an over-heated drying cabinet. However, Life, and the world press, published the surviving images, calling them “slightly out of focus” from the blurred emulsion. Capa never said a word to the bureau chief about the loss of the rolls of his D-Day landing film.
Capa maintained his dangerous franchise as the most colorful war photographer. Life magazine asked him to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War. On 25-05-1954 at 2:55 p.m. they were passing through a dangerous area under fire when Capa decided to leave his Jeep and go up the road to photograph the advance. About five minutes later, his companions heard an explosion, Capa had stepped on a landmine on the spot right.
Death and burial ground of Capa, born Endre Ernö Friedmann, Robert.
When they arrived on the scene, he was still alive but his left leg had been blown to pieces, and he had a serious wound in his chest. Mecklin called for a medic and Capa was taken to a small field hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He died, age 40, with his camera in his hand. He is buried on the Amawalk Friends cemetery in New York