Remembering Anton Hammerl, 1969-2011

Anton Hammerl

This post is on behalf of my friend Debbi Morello.

On April 5th, 2011 South African photographer Anton Hammerl went missing after coming under fire from Gaddafi loyalists near the oil port of Brega in Libya.

Many of you may remember back in April my plea for assistance in raising awareness for four journalists detained in Tripoli for no apparent crime, and with very little word about one of the journalists believed to be one of the four, Anton Hammerl.

Thousands signed a petition, hundreds more waged campaigns across the country for the two Americans being held, James Foley and Clare Gilles. With a great deal of pressure, diplomatic negotiations and prayer, the four journalists were finally released from a prison in Tripoli on May 18th: Clare Morgana Gillis, James Foley, Manu Brabo and Nigel Chandler — but there was no news of Anton.

Tragically, Anton Hammerl was shot by Gaddafi forces and left to die somewhere in Brega. Gaddafi’s men took Anton’s identification and for six weeks the world and his family was led to believe by the Libyan regime that he was being detained and was still alive.

But Anton’s family would only learn the truth when Gillis, Foley and Brabo safely crossed the border out of Libya. Anton’s family learned from eyewitnesses on May 19th that his injuries were such that he could not have survived without immediate medical attention.

These words appeared on a Facebook page for him:

“At 10pm BST (11pm SA time) this evening we received devastating news regarding Anton Hammerl. On 5 April 2011 Anton was shot by Gaddafi’s forces in an extremely remote location in the Libyan desert. According to eyewitnesses, his injuries were such that he could not have survived without medical attention. Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through.”

Anton, 41, was a former pictures editor and chief photographer for The Saturday Star in Johannesburg, South Africa. He moved to London in 2006 where he became a freelance photographer, shooting both news and corporate work. He had gone to cover the fighting in Libya in late March as a freelancer.

Raising Funds For His 3 Children

This site was put together by family, friends and colleagues of Anton with the goal of raising funds to help secure the future of Anton’s three children, 11 year-old Aurora, 7 year-old Neo, and 6 month-old baby Hiro.

Anton’s wife Penny wants the funds collected to go towards the children’s university education, Friends of Anton.

If you tweet this, please include the hashtag #friendsofanton

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the price of a print, you can make a tax-deductible donation with your credit card or PayPal account. All proceeds will benefit Anton’s children and each donor will be sent a receipt for tax purposes.

Acclaimed Photographers Donating Images

Some of the biggest names in photography have agreed to donate images to support their fallen colleague.

These prints are valuable collector’s items and they make unique gifts.Friendsofanton.org would not be possible without the generous support, advice and donations of services from PhotoShelter, Emphas.is, The Steven Vincent Foundation, digitaltechparis.com, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders.

Hammerl’s remains have not yet been located and returned to his family. On 8 September his family and friends will be reflecting on Anton’s life at a memorial service at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8AU.

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