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February 22, 1985 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-02-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

,

38

Friday, February 22, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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A pair of plates from The Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs" graphically
illustrates life in Poland at the onset of the Holocaust.

.

The term "Liberation" may
prove to be an irritating applica-
tion to the interruption of Nazi
mass terrorization and murder at -
Auschwitz when the ovens were
extinguished by the Soviet troops.
The 40th anniversary of the Nazi
defeat nevertheless marks an im-
portant date on the calendar of the
triumph for justice against Hit-
lerism.
The anniversary of the un-
forgettable tragedies centered in
the Nazi-supervised cremetoria at
Auschwitz and a score of other
camps places renewed signifi-
cance on the data indicting the
Germans in the Nazi era.
Exceptionally revealing is the
photographic record of the occur-
rences. A notable collection of pic-
tures has just been issued by
Dover Publications under the title
The Warsaw Ghetto in Photo-
graphs, edited by Ulrich Keller.
The importance of this volunie
is the source — the photography
having been done by the Germans
themselves. Therefore the collec-
tion immediately exposes itself as
intended propaganda.
While many of the photographs
in this volume could be judged as
mere realism, it is evident that
the purpose is to arouse revulsion.
Also, it is evident that the chief
aim may have been to prove to
international forces, especially
the Red Cross, that charges of dis-
crimination and torture were
exaggerated.
There are 206 photos in this
Dover volume. They were selected
from 700 in the German-produced
collection. The introduction pro-
•vides a history of the Nazi
engineered ghetto tactics. The

pictures invariably eliminate the
presence of Nazi soldiers and offi-
cials and this is evidence of the
propaganda effort. -
Indifference to the sufferings is
in evidence in the pictures repro-
duced here.
The distress, the continuing
horror foisted upon Warsaw
Jewry, is outlined in this
explanatory note:
"By spring 1941, when the
photographs in this volume were
most likely taken, the ubiquity of
death was in fact the most strik-
ing feature in the Warsaw Ghetto
streets — the public death of
thousands stranded without shel-
ter, income or relatives to look
after them.
"According to official statistics,
1,700 inhabitants died between
May 1 and May 15 of that year,
mostly from starvation, but also
from other causes, such as a
rapidly spreading typhus
epidemic, tuberculosis and var- ,
ious stress-related diseases, espe-
cially heart attacks."
In spite of the attempt at shield-
ing the German ego, there is the
evidence of bodies strewn on the
Warsaw streets, some covered
with newspapers,_ later to be
buried en masse.
While there is the aim to arouse
revulsion, there is a measure of
dignity in some of the portraits,
and in the resistance, meager as it
may have been.
The Warsaw Ghetto in Photo-
graphs is a valuable piece of his-
tory which will continue to be
studied with a great deal of inter-
est — even as a Nazi-produced re-
cord.

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