Łdź Ghetto Album

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Boot, 2004 - History - 157 pages
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Born in 1913, Henryk Ross was a press photographer in Poland before World War II. As a Jew, he was incarcerated by the invading Germans in the Lodz Ghetto (Poland's largest ghetto after Warsaw) 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 unique record of ghetto life, secretly photographing the atrocities of Lodz and making family and group portraits of (and presumably for) the ghetto elite. As the Germans began the liquidation of Lodz in 1944, he buried his archive of 3,000 negatives. Surviving the Holocaust, he was able to recover them after the war. From his post-war home in Israel, he circulated images showing the horrors of Lodz, including these in his own books and as testimony in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. However, Ross apparently took no further interest in the domestic photographs, which have remained unprinted until today. In 1997, after Ross's death, his son sold the archive to a private collection in London and only now has the breadth of Ross's record of ghetto life been freshly examined for the first time. For an audience accustomed to seeing dramatic photographs of suffering in the Polish ghettos, the quiet, domestic scenes he recorded are a revealing and poignant surprise, and an important addition to the historical record. Edited by Martin Parr, the book's foreword is by highly respected Holocaust historian and expert Robert-Jan Van Pelt.

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About the author (2004)

Henryk Ross, born in Poland in 1913, was a press photographer prior to WWII, when by virtue of being Jewish he was incaracerated in the Lodz Ghetto. He became one of its two 'official' photographers. When the Nazis began to remove all ghetto inhabitants to the death camps in 1944, Ross buried his negatives and archives. One of Lodz's 5000 survivors, Ross returned after liberation to recover his negatives, and with the help of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, managed to get them away from Russian custody to Israel.

Thomas Weber is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of "Lodz Ghetto Album" (2004), which won the 2004 Golden Light Award for Best Edited Historical Book and a 2005 Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography in New York.

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