Documentation of Atrocities: The Jewish Photographer Henryk Ross


When the Lodz ghetto was sealed in May 1940, Henryk
Ross was forced to move into the ghetto. He managed to get a job as one of the official
photographers in the ghetto, which gave him access to film and processing facilities.
He used these facilities to secretly take pictures of the suffering of the Jews in the
ghetto. He hid his camera under his coat and he opened
it slightly and took snaps of images he saw. In this fashion, he managed to accumulate
thousands of pictures that show us now what life was like in the ghetto.
A few of his pictures display public executions and deportations. One of these pictures was
taken in 1944 at the railroad station in the Lodz ghetto. The photograph displays a cattle
car and a group of people standing around it If we look at the framing of the picture, we can see that it is not centered, and this
is important, because the photographer was very professional and he was skillful. Furthermore,
there’s actually a black part on the left hand side of the picture, and also building
material in the foreground. And all of these images are actually blocking
the view of the person looking at the picture. It shows us that he had to hide in order to
take the picture. The frame is actually showing the conditions
of his hiding place – that he did not manage to take a closer look at the actual scene. Henryk Ross risked his life in order to show
what the Nazis tried to hide, and when we combine his testimony with a picture, we actually
learn much more about the scene that we’re seeing in the picture. We see people boarding the train, but we don’t
know what happens inside the cattle car, and we also don’t know what happens to the people
when they arrive at their destinations. So only if we contextualize the picture, and
put it into context with other archives like testimonies, maps, or historical accounts,
do we gain a better understanding of what was going on. When the liquidation of the ghetto began in 1944, Ross decided to bury his archive in
the ground of the ghetto so it could be dug up later and bear witness to the persecution
of European Jews. “Just before the closure of the ghetto [1944]
I buried my negatives in the ground in order that there should be some record of our tragedy
– namely the total elimination of the Jews from Lodz by the Nazi executioners. I was
anticipating the total destruction of Polish Jewry. I wanted to leave an historical record
of our martyrdom.” – Henryk Ross Henryk Ross survived the Holocaust, and he
managed to locate and dig up his material after the war. In comparison to the perpetrators’ pictures, we can see that his collection is exceptional
because he clearly loved human beings and social interactions, and felt compelled to
commemorate the Jewish life in the Lodz ghetto.

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21 thoughts on “Documentation of Atrocities: The Jewish Photographer Henryk Ross

  1. I'm an old man ,I was 8 when the war ended .I want to make a comment but I just don't know how to express my horror that some perpetrators are still alive .

  2. ๐Ÿ“ธThank you for this clip! The bravery this gentleman displayed was astounding, very grateful for this! Exposing the atrocities, this evidence was perfect!!๐Ÿ“ธ

  3. I am surprised that the Jewish policemen allowed him to take pictures. I thought it would have been dangerous.

  4. Why should we assume the photographer is "really" proud of what they did if a photograph is kept in a personal collection? Why not assume that they were minimally proud, but just above the borderline of caring enough to not throw them away?…..we can't assume anything.

  5. Amidah: This was the prayer of Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust.

    The Amidah (Hebrew: ืชืคื™ืœืช ื”ืขืžื™ื“ื”โ€Ž, Tefilat HaAmidah, "The Standing Prayer"), also called the Shmoneh Esreh (ืฉืžื ื” ืขืฉืจื”โ€Ž, "The Eighteen", in reference to the original number of constituent blessings: there are now nineteen), is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy.

  6. My prayers go out to these people who died in the Holocaust, whether they would be Jewish or non-Jewish people. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  7. I look at Israel full of culture and beauty growing daily and I look at Germany misery then and more misery to come, when you go too Germany the tour guides tell you not to try and joke with the locals they get angry a stark contrast in people I know where I want to be…๐ŸŒท๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

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