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Portrait of J Malan Heslop. — courtesy of J Malan Heslop, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

J Malan Heslop (18 June 1923 in Taylor, Weber County, Utah – 29 July 2011 Salt Lake City, Utah)[1] was a World War II combat photographer with Arnold E. Samuelson's Combat Assignment Unit #123 of the 167th Signal Photographic Company who documented evidence of Nazi war crimes. He later served as editor of the Church News and managing editor of the Deseret News.

Heslop served as a freelance photographer in his native Utah and was employed at the Ogden Standard Examiner before setting off to California, where he studied the craft at Los Angeles City College.

Early life

He was born to Jesse and Zella Malan Heslop.

Following America's entry into World War II, he joined the National Guard with hopes of being recruited for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. In October 1942, Heslop was assigned to the 167th Signal Photographic Company and sent for training to Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Three months after D-Day (June 6, 1944), he landed on the Normandy beaches and served in France. During the German counteroffensive into the Ardennes, he covered the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944).

File:Heslop Ebensee.jpg

Photograph of liberated Ebensee prisoners by J Malan Heslop

In March 1945, Heslop was one of two still photographers in Lt. Arnold E. Samuelson's Combat Assignment Unit #123 (One of fourteen Combat Assignment Units in the 167th Signal Photographic Company). As part of 167th, Heslop covered the activities of the 9th Armored Division, the 80th Infantry Division as well as many other U.S. Army units serving within the 12th Army Group area of operation. In May 1945, Heslop was among the first American photographers to document evidence of Nazi crimes and the plight of surviving inmates at Ebensee, a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

Deseret News

After the war, he graduated from Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in Logan, Utah (June, 1948). He joined the Deseret News newspaper in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shortly after joining the Deseret News staff he was made chief photographer, a position he held for the next 20 years. From 1968-1976 he served as editor of the Church News, which is distributed both as an insert in the Deseret News and through mail distribution to areas outside the Deseret News's base readership area. In 1976 Heslop became the managing editor of the Church News, a position he held from then until 1981 and again from 1983 until 1988.[2] He was a member of Kiwanis.[3]

LDS Church

Heslop was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among the positions he held in the church were bishop of the Salt Lake 26th Ward, counselor in the stake presidency of the Salt Lake Pioneer Stake, president of the Salt Lake Stake, member of the YMMIA General Board, regional representative, president of the Chicago North Mission, and stake patriarch.[4]

Heslop also wrote several books and plays with Dell Van Orden. He was involved in the formation of the group that eventually became the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation.[5]


Heslop married Fae Stokes on 1 May 1944 in the Salt Lake Temple just before he went to Europe during World War II. They later became the parents of five children Paul, Lyn, Scott, Ann, and Don.[6] The Heslops also wrote an autobiography Doubletree Adventure: Autobiography of J Malan and Eleanor Fae Stokes Heslop.


Brigham Young University through its Saints at War Project headered by Robert C. Freeman has digitized and made available on-line more than 1,000 of Heslop's war photos from World War II. The United States National Archives and the National Holocaust Museum (United States) also have collections of Heslop's World War II era photos.[7]


  • From the Shadow of Death: Stories of POWs (with Dell R. Van Orden) Deseret Book, 1973.
  • Joseph Fielding Smith: A Prophet Among the People. Deseret Book, 1971. ISBN 0-87747-454-0
  • How to Compile Your Family History. Bookcraft, 1978. ISBN 0-88494-344-5

See also



External links

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