Henryk Ross: Lodz Ghetto Album

ISBN 13: 9780954281373

Henryk Ross: Lodz Ghetto Album

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Henryk Ross (1910-91) was a Jewish press photographer in Poland before World War II. Incarcerated by the invading Germans in the Lodz ghetto, he became one of its two official photographers. His duties afforded him access to photographic facilities which he used to secretly photograph the atrocities of Lodz, while also recording scenes of domestic life among the ghetto "elite." As the Germans began the liquidation of Lodz in 1944, Ross buried his 3,000 negatives. Surviving the Holocaust, he recovered them and, from his postwar home in Israel, circulated images showing the horrors of Lodz. But until now, the bulk of his photographs have remained unseen, including many of the ghetto police. For an audience accustomed to dramatic photographs of Holocaust suffering, the quiet, domestic scenes he recorded are poignant and sometimes shocking, challenging us to rethink what we understand about ghetto society. With a foreword by bestselling Holocaust expert Robert-Jan van Pelt, and with an appendix of original documents, this volume is introduced with an informative, illustrated essay by historian Thomas Weber. Published in association with the Archive of Modern Conflict.

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From the Author:

In terms of its scope, all other photographic records of ghetto life pale in comparison. These photographs have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of ghetto life. 'The Lodz Ghetto Album' demands us to revisit the social order of the ghetto and the scope of collaboration and resistance in the Holocaust. It will change our comprehension of human behaviour in the Holocaust. The dilemmas between collaboration and resistance were not confined to the Jewish Council and the Jewish Police, as held by the conventional wisdom. As the book reveals, all ghetto residents alike had to navigate competing loyalties and an almost-inevitable combination of heroism and compromise, collaboration and resistance.

From the Inside Flap:

Henryk Ross was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1910, becoming a sports and general press photographer first in Warsaw, then Lodz, before World War II. As a Jew, he was incarcerated in the Lodz ghetto with his wife Stefania where he became one of two official photographers, producing identity and propaganda photographs for its Department of Statistics. His duties afforded him access to film and processing facilities and he used these to create a record of the ghetto, risking his life to secretly document the deportations, hangings and other atrocities. As the liquidation of the ghetto began in 1944, he buried his archive of 3,000 negatives and other ghetto records for safekeeping. Surviving the Holocaust (as a member of the ghetto clean-up squad intact at the time the Red Army liberated Lodz), he was able to recover the archive after the war. From his post-war home in Israel, where he worked as a photographer and zincographer, he circulated images showing the horrors of Lodz, including in his 1960s book The Last Journey of the Jews of Lodz and at the trial of the Holocaust-mastermind, Adolf Eichmann. He catalogued his photographs in 1987. Ross died in Israel in 1991.

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