“Bruce, this is valuable history!” photographer Adrian Wylie exclaimed to semi-retired attorney Bruce Laidlaw. “You should do something about these.”

Laidlaw had casually shown Wylie an old florist’s box containing about 100 photos that his wife, Andrea, had inherited from her father, World War II veteran Andy Hays. Hays, who ended the war as a major, told family members that he’d confiscated most of them from captured German soldiers, but never said anything more about them.

Wylie’s remark stirred Laidlaw to action. To identify the photos, he interviewed authorities on the war and talked to a former soldier who’d been a close friend of Hays. He then wrote a brief but lucid history of the war to accompany sixty-six of the photos, which he published last year as an e-book titled Through the Warriors’ Eyes.

The images range from benign shots of Dutch women in traditional costumes to what Laidlaw calls the “most disturbing” single photo–Polish Jews, their hands up, being driven out of their towns by rifle-toting German soldiers. Another shows Nazi air marshal Hermann Goering inspecting troops, and several feature German and (usually downed) Allied aircraft, including one that Wylie’s cousin, a pilot, identified as a very rare early British helicopter.

Hays became president of a Lansing bank, retired to Florida, and died in 1994. Andrea (who was named for her dad) says “he never talked about the war” to his family.

Hays did once grant a taped interview to the widow of a close army buddy. His family never heard the recording, but afterward, Andrea recalls, “he came out crying.”