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The Holocaust

The Holocaust Resource Center


Holocaust-era photographs are engraved in the mind of every one of us. Some of them have become emblematic–like the Jewish boy from the Warsaw ghetto raising his hands in surrender after the uprising was suppressed, or the pictures of the arrival of Hungarian Jews at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Beyond their importance for imparting awareness of the Holocaust, photographs provide an important source of information about the subject and are used in research on it. Because of the Jews' terrible living conditions and especially due to the German prohibitions, most of the photographs documenting the period were taken by Non-Jews – most of them Germans. We should keep this fact in mind when we look at these pictures, since, as a rule, these are documents recorded from a hostile perspective. Often the photographs were meant to serve Nazi propaganda or to reinforce the photographer's anti-Jewish stereotypes.

Jews also took photographs during the Holocaust, both official, on behalf of Jewish institutions (which were subordinate to the Germans) and clandestine, taken despite the severe prohibition and at great personal risk. Thanks to Jewish underground photographers like Zvi Kadushin in the Kovno ghetto and Mendel Grossman in the Lodz ghetto, we now have pictures that show the Jews in the Holocaust from a different angle–the Jewish one. The Jewish photographers show us human aspects that were overlooks by the non-Jewish photographers, did not fit in with their world view, or simply did not interest them. In recognition of the importance of photographs documenting the Holocaust, the Yad Vashem Archives collects photographs and has set up a separate archive containing hundreds of thousands of photographs and films. Here you can see a large selection of photographs from these archives.

Total Sources (by media type):

Photographs 2107
Total Sources 2107
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