President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the Presidential Box overlooking the crowd at inaugural gala, Jan. 20, 1961.
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the Presidential Box overlooking the crowd at inaugural gala, Jan. 20, 1961.Paul Schutzer—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the Presidential Box overlooking the crowd at inaugural gala, Jan. 20, 1961.
Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband John F. Kennedy, on eve of his Presidential inauguration, Jan. 19, 1961. They attended a gala hosted by Frank Sinatra at the National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C.
Young women swoon at a campaign appearance of presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, late 1960.
John F. Kennedy prepares a speech as admirers watch from outside a window, Baltimore, September 1960.
Supporters of presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, New York City, October 1960.
Sen.John F. Kennedy campaigns in New York City, October 1960.
Supporters of presidential candidate John F. Kennedy on a campaign tour, 1960.
President Kennedy walks hand-in-hand with daughter Caroline on St. Patrick's Day at the White House, March 17, 1961.
Supporters of President John F. Kennedy,1960.
President John F. Kennedy watches a film in Press Secretary Pierre Salinger's office, Feb. 2, 1961.
An East German policeman attempts to stop Western photographers by flashing mirrors into camera lenses. Sept. 8, 1961. A month earlier, East Germany began cordoning off the Eastern sector of the city.
A seventeen-year-old East Berlin youth is helped by two West Berlin police officers after he climbed over the newly constructed wall from East Berlin, October 1961.
A young girl gazes through her apartment window which looks out on barbed wire fencing that tops the nearby Berlin wall, December 1962.
Marilyn Monroe and her husband Arthur Miller drive to Connecticut in 1956, shortly after their marriage.
Sen. John Kennedy with his brother at Robert Kennedy's home in McLean, Va., May 1957.
Robert Kennedy and his wife Ethel before bedtime at their home in Maclean, Va, April 30, 1957.
A waiter lights a cigarette for a socialite at the Piedmont ball, 1958, Atlanta, Ga.
Lewis Cousins (C) sits in class surrounded by white students. Cousins was the first black student to attend the newly desegregated Maury High School in Norfolk, Va, 1959.
Freedom Riders wait in a 'Colored Waiting Room' in a bus station in Montgomery, Ala., May 1961. The Freedom Riders rode buses throughout the south in the months following the Boynton v. Virginia Supreme Court case, which outlawed racial segregation on public transportation, in order to test and call attention to still existing local policies that ran contrary to national laws.
Near the Mississippi-Alabama border, members of the Alabama National Guard surround a bus carrying freedom riders, May 1961.
Julia Aaron and David Dennis with 25 other freedom riders are escorted by Mississippi National Guardsmen travelling from Montgomery, Ala. to Jackson, Miss., May 1961.
White men throw stones at a bus carrying freedom riders protesting segregation in the south, as they travel from Montgomery, Ala., May 1961.
Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King attends a prayer pilgrimage, May 17, 1957, Washington, D.C., on the third anniversary of the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education decision against segregation in public schools.
Demonstrators at a rallying point for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, May 17, 1957, Washington. D.C., held in support of desegregation.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in front of the Lincoln Memorial before 25,000 people at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, May 1957 to mark the third anniversary of the landmark supreme court decision, Brown v. the Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in public schools. Among his landmark early addresses, King's speech that day was known as "Give Us the Ballot."
Civil rights activists march at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, May 1957 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
A U.S. Marine holds an injured Vietnamese child while running under fire, November 1965.
Weary American Marines of 7th Regiment catch some sleep following intense fighting in the area around Cape Batangan during the Vietnam War, November 1965. Marines fought from dawn until dark in temperatures that reached 130 degrees before they secured the beachhead.
The eyes and mouth of a Vietcong prisoner are taped by U.S. Marines. This picture ran on the cover of Life's Nov. 26, 1965 issue with the cover line, "The Blunt Reality of War."
Former teamster and labor leader Arthur L. Morgan testifies against Jimmy Hoffa and others during labor racketeering hearings before a Senate Select Committee, August 1958.
A man lovingly combs his girlfriend's hair, photographed for a photo essay entitled "The Italian Man," 1963.
Actress Elke Sommer attends the Cannes Film Festival amid a sea of photographers, May 1962.
Israeli children of the Habad sect play with a horse and cart at a farm May 1960.
Israelis dance at the "Last Chance Cafe", a night club in Beersheba, Israel, May 1960.
Miriam Stecher, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, shows her prisoner number in reaction to news of the arrest of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi S.S. Colonel, one of chief architects of the holocaust, May 1960.
An Israeli man rests beside a newly planted tree, 1965.
This image of an Israeli military vehicle as it heads towards Gaza, then part of Egypt, was one of the last 23 frames taken by Paul Schutzer. He was killed on June 5, 1967, the first day of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, when the half-track personnel carrier he was riding in took a direct hit from an Egyptian antitank shell.
The last frame on the roll of film found in Schutzer's camera. He was killed by a 57mm Egyptian shell which hit the half-track personnel carrier he was riding in, June 5, 1967, the first day of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War.
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the Presidential Box overlooking the crowd at inaugural g

Paul Schutzer—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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A LIFE Photographer Was Killed on Assignment 50 Years Ago. His Work Endures

Jun 05, 2017

Fifty years ago — on June 5, 1967 — in the first hours of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, LIFE Magazine photographer Paul Schutzer was killed while riding in a half-track personnel carrier heading toward Gaza.

When he'd been hired in 1957, Schutzer was the youngest LIFE staff photographer. Over the course of a decade, until his death at age 36, he shot 491 stories for the magazine, including the 1960 Presidential campaign. At the Kennedy inauguration, he captured the iconic photograph of a beaming President with his glamorous wife, a symbol of the Camelot mystique.

During the magazine's heyday, LIFE's picture stories brought readers up close to unfolding events. For a photographer, an assignment was a passport to far-flung worlds and the front lines of history. Behind the scenes, Schutzer recorded the lives of leaders such as Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Kennedy, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Describing her father’s work, Schutzer’s daughter Dena explains, “He focused on the people in power and the powerless, the people who were responsible for the events and those who were affected by them.”

LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer. Paul Schutzer—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

From tensions at the Berlin Wall, to life in the war-torn villages of Vietnam, to the fight for desegregation by men and women demanding basic civil rights, the stories Schutzer covered required him to take numerous risks. Before boarding a bus heading to the Jim Crow south, he once wrote to his wife Bernice, “I’m going on the bus with the Freedom Riders. The magazine at first ordered me not to go, but the very reasons for not going, is the reason I must... This story should be told.” He was working at a time of American greatness, Bernice now recounts. “He wasn’t jaded or cynical.” He wanted to connect and did so by getting close. He carefully edited his own work after each assignment, telling his wife that he would have been lucky to have taken even ten great photographs in a lifetime.

Schutzer traveled extensively through Eastern Europe, where he was deeply affected by what he saw at the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp. His family tells LIFE that, particularly as a Jewish person living and working in the post-war years, he was inspired by the spirit and promise of the new state of Israel. So it was no surprise that, with war looming there in 1967, he was eager to be there. Determined, he prevailed on his friend Moshe Dayan, then Israel's Minister of Defense, to embed with an assault unit.

He didn't intend to stay long, saying to his wife that he was finished with war. He was shot soon after. "One perhaps can console oneself that Paul died where he wanted to die and gave his life for what he felt most. And that is true," LIFE eulogized the next week. "But we have lost an exceptional, first-rate man — in Yiddish this type is called a mensch. Paul was a mensch."

After his death, LIFE received many condolences and tributes, including from the master photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who said he admired Schutzer's work and attitude toward photography. In a telegram, Robert Kennedy wrote, “Paul Schutzer was highly regarded as a professional and a friend of President John Kennedy and all those associated with him. His ability, intelligence, sense of humor, and devotion to his craft will be missed by his colleagues and friends.”

Dena Schutzer

Schutzer’s complete photographic archive, a unique chronicle of the cold war era, has never been viewed, recognized retrospectively or compiled in a book. That is something his family hopes to one day achieve, but on the anniversary of his death here is a look at some of the highlights of that body of work.

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