Reliving a Horror to Decipher an Enigma

Thomas Weber, visiting assistant professor of European history at the University of Chicago, wrote the text for Lodz Ghetto Album: Photographs by Henryk Ross (2004). He says:

Sixty years ago Helen Aronson stepped out of her hideout in the Lodz Ghetto – the Holocaust’s second largest. On Sunday she was at the National Portrait Gallery in London to see, for the first time, the recently discovered Ross Collection, the most extensive and important record of the Holocaust by any single photographer. Henryk Ross (1910-91), an official Jewish photographer in the ghetto, also secretly recorded its suffering. After the war, while he made some of his photos available for use in the Eichmann trial and in Holocaust museums, we never saw the great majority of Ross’s pictures during his lifetime.

I first encountered his full collection in the late 1990s, opening an old, bulky suitcase filled with photos, negatives, ghetto announcements, and newspapers. The Archive of Modern Conflict in London had just acquired the collection from his son and asked me to evaluate it for them. I soon realized that this collection had the potential to revolutionize the way we understand life in the Holocaust.

Reliving a Horror to Decipher an Enigma

See also Images from the Lodz Ghetto Album – a slide show

See also “I Will Never Forget These Scenes” – Janina Struk

The Nazis at Auschwitz were obsessed with documenting their war crimes and Wilhelm Brasse, now 87, was one of a group of prisoners forced to take photographs for them.

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