Rare photographs recently revealed show that as Adolf Hitler brought suffering and terror to much of the world, he was all smiles at home in the lap of luxury.

The Mirror reports that the never-before-seen pictures of the Fuhrer's apartment at the Chancellery in Berlin and Berghof estate in Bavari were taken by Hitler's personal photographer Hugo Jaeger in the years leading up to and throughout World War Two.

At the time, Jaeger was one of the few photographers in the world using color photography techniques. The photos are owned by LIFE Magazine. LIFE reports on how the pictures were nearly discovered over a half-century ago:

"In 1945, when the Allies were making their final push toward Munich, Jaeger found himself face to face with six American soldiers in a small town west of the city. During a search of the house where Jaeger was staying, the Americans found a leather suitcase in which Jaeger had hidden thousands of color photo transparencies. He knew he would be arrested (or worse) if the Americans discovered his film and his close connection to Hitler. He could never have imagined what happened next.

The American soldiers threw open the suitcase that held the Hitler images. Inside, they found a bottle of cognac that Jaeger had placed atop the transparencies. Elated, the soldiers proceeded to share the bottle with Jaeger and the owner of the house. The suitcase was forgotten."

LIFE reports that Jaeger hid the picture transparencies in 12 twelve glass jars buried outside Munich, returning to retrieve the 2,000 transparencies in 1955. After storing them in a bank vault for ten years, Jaeger sold the photos to LIFE in 1965.

To date, only a fraction of the Jaeger collection has been published.

Full slideshow at LIFE.com

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