A parallel is drawn between the histories of the two most famous German optic companies. Born in the middle of the 19th century, Zeiss and Leitz went through National Socialism. But their histories are very different. Leitz Archive documents abound, especially from one of the main actors, Oskar Barnack (father of the Leica). Ernst Leitz II and his daughter Elsie tried to help the Jewish workers, their families and, later, the Ukrainian women working in the factory. Leitz succeeded to establish what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as «the Leica Freedom Train». Their tribulations throw light on the German adventure during the last century.