Photographs of Eastern European Jewish communities, taken between 1935-1938, by Roman Vishniac.
notes on the images:
photo two and three: Jewish labourers in Verkhneye Vodyanoye, Ukraine, Zakarpats’ka (then Vysni Apsa, Czechoslovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia).
photo eight: Portrait of the wife of Nat Gutman, a porter, Warsaw.
photo nine: Malnourished child eating a crust of bread in the TOZ (Society for Safeguarding the Health of the Jewish Population) summer camp in Otwock, near Warsaw. The Society for Safeguarding the Health of the Jewish Population (TOZ) was established in Warsaw in 1921 to unite the Polish branches of the Saint Petersburg–based Society for the Protection of Jewish Health (OZE). TOZ promoted preventive measures against infectious disease, such as smallpox vaccines, and also addressed the socioeconomic roots of disease, including pervasive poverty, malnutrition, and unsanitary living conditions. Vishniac photographed TOZ’s headquarters in Warsaw and summer camps in Slonim and Otwock to assist with their fundraising efforts and to promote the activities of the camp to Jewish donors abroad. With the support of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC), TOZ continued to operate after the German invasion of Poland, and attempted to continue its activities in the Nazi ghettos in Poland until 1942. Vishniac’s reflection, holding his Rolleiflex camera, can be seen in the young girl’s eyes.
photo ten: A Jewish boy with cattle, Carpathian Ruthenia.
more Roman Vishniac
(and more info on TOZ and OZE)
Jewish-Russian photographer Roman Vishniac’s daughter, Mara, as a young girl, poses in front of Nazi propaganda posters in Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 1933. The poster depicting Hindenburg and Hitler reads: “The marshal and the corporal: fight with us for peace and equal rights”.
more Roman Vishniac
The forgotten Jews of the Red Army
About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet Red Army during World War II. Most of those still alive today — about 7,000 — are said to live in Israel.
1) Boris Ginsburg joined partisans for two years and in 1944 he joined the Red Army as a combat soldier and fought till the and of the war.
2) Nahum Matovich, 87, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Matovich was an air force bomber pilot on Ilyushin Il-4 bomber in the Soviet 18th Air Army and fought in Japan and Korea. He immigrated to Israel from Kishinev, today’s Moldova, in 1994.
3) Yaakov Vilkovich, 90, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. Vilkovich joined the Red Army in 1941, served in the 31st Army’s infantry battalion and fought in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. He immigrated to Israel in 1998.
Attendees of the First Meeting of the Presidium of Soviet Jewish Writers, 1929. Photo by S. Shingaryov.
Standing (L-R): Shmuel-Nisn Godiner, Note Lurye, Moyshe Litvakov, M. Daniel, Arn Kushnirov, M. Kuhlbach. Sitting (L-R): I. Feder, Izi Kharik, Alexander Fadeyev (not Jewish, so obvious from the photo), Perets Markish, D. Bronstein.
See the reverse side of the photograph here.
Photographer Faye Schulman reunites with three Jewish partisans from Warsaw. Schulman and the three men had thought that each other had been killed. Poland, 1943.
Born in 1925 in Lenin, Poland, Schulman grew up in a small town in what is now Belarus. In 1939, Russia and Germany divided Poland, and Lenin fell under Russian jurisdiction.
Schulman’s brother, a photographer, taught her how to take pictures, process negatives and develop prints. She worked as his assistant. She also knew a little about medicine, as her brother-in-law was a doctor.
When the Nazis invaded in 1941, they forced the town’s 1,800 Jews into a ghetto — except for six “useful Jews.” Among them: a tailor, a carpenter and a photographer.
Schulman was recruited to take pictures for the Nazis (her brother had already fled town). She would snap headshots of Nazi officials and portraits of their mistresses.
One day, she developed a photograph that was clearly a mass grave of Jews who had been killed. Peering closely at the print, she recognized her own family. She hid the negative in a box of photo paper to assure it would remain safe and unseen.
She vowed vengeance and sought justice in the forest with a group of Russians — mostly men and overwhelmingly non-Jews — she’d met up with when they raided Lenin for supplies.
She begged them to take her along. They were doubtful of her worth; what good was a woman? But she promised she could serve as a doctor’s assistant, and they accepted her into the group.
She recovered her photography equipment during a subsequent raid on Lenin.
Schulman hid her Jewish identity. During Passover, she ate only potatoes, never explaining why.
She made sure her fellow partisans remained healthy through the harshness of winter, and tended to their periodic battle wounds.
She made her own stop bath and fixer, and buried bottles of the solutions in holes in the ground, retrieving them when needed.
For two years, she lived in the forest and documented life there. She would make “sun prints” by putting the negative next to photographic paper and holding it toward the sun. She’d then give them to fellow resistance fighters.
“They treasured their pictures and respected me for it,” she said.
She married after the war. She and her husband, Morris, could take very little with them to the displaced persons camp in Germany. Though she had very few belongings after two years in the forest, Schulman possessed many, many photos and negatives. She selected only her favorite prints and negatives to take with her to the DP camp, where she spent three years. She brought those with her to Canada.
In the [“Pictures of Resistance: The Photography of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman”] exhibit, each photo is paired with a lengthy explanation of the image. The text is in Schulman’s own words, recorded during an interview Braff conducted with her in her Toronto home in 2005.
She also wrote a book chronicling her story. “A Partisan’s Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust” was published in 1995.
“I want people to know there was resistance,” Faye said during that interview, the text of which is displayed with the photo exhibit.
“Jewish people didn’t go like sheep to the slaughter … I was a photographer. I have pictures. I have proof.” (via jweekly)
more on Faye Schulman