Through Soviet Jewish Eyes : Photography, War, and the Holocaust

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-22
  • Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr

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Finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyespresents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust. 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 Eyeshelps 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.

Author Biography

David Shneer is 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 Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
When Photography Was Jewish
How a Group of Jews from the Provinces Built Soviet Photojournalismp. 13
Seeing Red: Jewish Photographers, the Rise of the Second Generation, and Soviet Photojournalism of the 1930sp. 31
Soviet Jews on Both Sides of the Camera: The Photographs of Jewish Agricultural Colonies and Birobidzhanp. 60
Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust
"Without the Newspaper, We Are Defenseless!": Photojournalists and the Warp. 87
Picturing Grief, Documenting Crimes: Soviet Holocaust Photographyp. 140
When Jews Talked to Jews: Wartime Soviet Yiddish Culture and Soviet Photographers' Jewishnessp. 184
From Photojournalism to Icons of War and the Holocaust: Photographs and Photographers after the Warp. 205
Epilogue: Soviet Jewish Photographers as War Heroesp. 233
Notesp. 237
Indexp. 269
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