These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau. In this passionate work, David Shneer tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-he has amassed never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives.
Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.
About the Author
DAVID SHNEER is associate professor of history and director of Jewish studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His books include Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
Part 1 When Photography Was Jewish
1 How a Group of Jews from the Provinces Built Soviet Photojournalism 13
2 Seeing Red: Jewish Photographers, the Rise of the Second Generation, and Soviet Photojournalism of the 1930s 31
3 Soviet Jews on Both Sides of the Camera: The Photographs of Jewish Agricultural Colonies and Birobidzhan 60
Part 2 Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust
4 "Without the Newspaper, We Are Defenseless!": Photojournalists and the War 87
5 Picturing Grief, Documenting Crimes: Soviet Holocaust Photography 140
6 When Jews Talked to Jews: Wartime Soviet Yiddish Culture and Soviet Photographers' Jewishness 184
7 From Photojournalism to Icons of War and the Holocaust: Photographs and Photographers after the War 205
Epilogue: Soviet Jewish Photographers as War Heroes 233