THE CAMERA AS WEAPON: DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE HOLOCAUST
by SYBIL MILTON
THE GENERAL SUBJECT of photography and the Holocaust has received no systematic attention, while a few well-known stock shots have determined our perception of what took place. The picture of a Jewish child with his arms raised in surrender in the Warsaw Ghetto of 1943, columns of deportees on the ramp at Auschwitz, and nude women standing at the edge of a gigantic pit have been repeatedly used to illustrate popular and scholarly books, films, and museum exhibits.1 Although these powerful images do corroborate the truth of events, they also represent an inadequate use of historical photographs, showing little concern for precise identification, accurate dating, and intelligent interpretation. The following paper will examine the chronological, geographic, and photohistorical context of images produced by Nazi, Jewish, neutral, and Allied cameramen; it is the first part of a larger study in progress on photography and the Holocaust.
Systematic information has been sought about:
It is important to remember that the camera is not neutral, even in documentary newsreels and official war photographs. Although photographs cannot be composed after the event, there is considerable leeway in the darkroom to retouch prints, crop images, and manipulate tones and details. In addition, both self-censorship and official guidelines affected all commissioned and amateur photography of the Second World War. Unlike TV coverage of the Vietnam war, press photographers of World War II rarely showed atrocities and seldom published prints unfavorable to their own side. Thus, American photos showed the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and not the charred victims below; German footage never showed true conditions in POW or concentration camps. Furthermore, the viewer is often disconcerted by the high artistic quality of images produced in the context of morbid and brutal events.
1) the photographer's identity: Nazi, Jewish, neutral, or Allied liberator;
2) the date, location, and circumstances of the photograph, if possible with the image's sequence and context on the full roll of film;
3) the function of the photograph: officially commissioned combat photography, newsreel or magazine photojournalism, propaganda photo, or amateur snapshot, and whether the photograph was intended for publication or private use; and
4) the relationship between camera and subject: if the subjects cooperated, were under duress, or were unaware of the camera, and whether the scene was posed, staged, or candid.
The Nazis used photography as part of a sophisticated arsenal of media propaganda to control and intimidate German public opinion and also to harass, humiliate, and segregate the Jewish citizens of Germany. Photographs were usually used in the scandal and expose style of the gutter press, and not in the compassionate photojournalism style of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, August Sander, or Margaret Bourke- White.2 The camera was a weapon for intimidating Germans into compliance with or indifference to the persecution and humiliation of their Jewish neighbors. One popular sign announced during the boycott of April 1933: "Jewish business! Whoever buys here will be photographed!"3 Photos of German women found guilty of racial misconduct under the Nuremberg Laws appeared on posters and in local newspapers.4 The Nazis were aware that the camera could also be used as a weapon against them, and that images of the concentration camps would reveal the evils and horrors of political terror and racial fanaticism. After December 1944, Allied soldiers liberating France and Holland photographed identically worded French and Dutch signs posted near the Natzweiler-Struthof and Vught (Hertogenbosch) concentration camps: "Trespass of the camp grounds and taking photographs are absolutely prohibited. Violators will be shot without warning."5 These examples are but the most obvious instances of Nazi use of cameras as weapons of intimidation and propaganda and also show their justifiable fear that cameras in the hands of their opponents would become instruments for revelation of Nazi misdeeds.
During the war years, soldiers at the front took many unauthorized souvenir snapshots, and many concentration camp commandants and SS officers created bizarre photo albums for themselves and their superiors. The SS and Police Leader Fritz Katzmann in Lvov, reporting on the destruction of the Jews in Galicia, submitted a formal album bound in synthetic leather; it contained 152 photographs. SS Major General Jurgen Stroop sent a formal report of his military communiques from the Warsaw ghetto to Himmler; the report contained fifty-four photographs with calligraphic captions.6 When the last commandant of Treblinka, SS First Lieutenant Kurt Franz, was arrested in 1959, a photograph album entitled "The Best Years of My Life" (Die schonstenjahre meines Lebens) was discovered in his home.7 These macabre presentation albums were similar to annual reports and were designed to further the careers of ambitious SS officers; they also are grotesque travesties of the traditional family and vacation albums common in the 1930s and 1940s. These bizarre albums are a valuable historical tool, for they show a cross-section of typical concentration camps (from Westerbork to Auschwitz) and the faces of both perpetrator and victim.
Amateur snapshots, mementos of the eastern front, recorded the murder of Russian and Polish Jews and the deportations in the East. These home movies and stills were usually of relatively poor quality; they were often shot by the murderers who minutes later killed the people they had just photographed. Portable cameras, and other technical innovations like interchangeable lenses and multiple exposure film, meant that nonprofessionals owned and used cameras with ease. Many soldiers carried small Leica or Ermanox cameras in their rucksacks or pillaged optical equipment from the towns they occupied. The unofficial and often illegal nature of their photographs does not diminish the historical value of this material, although we are uncomfortable with its brutality and voyeurism. In July 1941 General Otto Woehler, Chief of Staff of the 1lth German Army, in whose area Einsatzgruppe D operated, ordered all such amateur photos confiscated:
No photographs will be made of such abominable excesses and no report of them will be given in letters home. The production and the distribution of such photographs and reports on such incidents are looked upon as undermining the decency and discipline in the armed forces and will be severely punished. All existing photographs and reports on such excesses are to be confiscated together with the negatives and are to be sent to the Ic counterintelligence officer of the army giving the name of the producer or distributor. It is beneath the dignity of a German soldier to watch such incidents out of curiosity....8
One such set of illicit photographs was taken by the Austrian soldier Hubert Pfoch, whose infantry company was sent from Vienna to the East in August 1942. Pfoch, a member of the illegal Austrian Socialist Youth movement, recorded in images and words the story of one transport to Treblinka. Pfoch's train was routed behind the Jewish train. His secret photographic record is a unique source for the deportations to the East.9
Woehler's order to confiscate private photos of atrocities was reiterated by Heydrich on November 11, 1941, and April 16, 1942. Heydrich "forbade the taking of pictures at mass executions and requested that the commanders of the Order Police hunt for pictures, films, or plates circulating among their own men. Official photos were to be sent undeveloped as top secret documents (geheime Reichssache) to the RSHA IV A/ I (the Gestapo office concerned with communist enemies)."10 Obviously, in the Einsatzgruppen the killers and photographers were often one and the same. Their sadistic voyeurism led to the crassest violations of the victims' privacy; even the most personal moments of death and dying were no longer respected. "The camera is a kind of passport that annihilates moral boundaries and social inhibitions, freeing the photographer from any responsibility toward the people photographed."11 Despite the violence and horror of some of these amateur images, this candid record represents an important historical source.
Nazi professional photographers produced in excess of one- quarter million images. Their work was officially regulated and licensed. From 1933 to 1939 photographers, filmmakers, freelance cameramen, broadcasters, and journalists worked under the auspices of the Reich Press Chamber, a subdivision of Goebbels's Propaganda Ministry. Photographers like Heinrich Hoffmann had exclusive rights to photograph Hitler and his entourage. Other cameramen worked for the daily, weekly, and monthly press, e.g., the Illustrierte Beobachter, Vulkischer Beobachter, Der Shirmer, Der Angriff, and many other journals. The photos made little pretense of objectivity and followed ministry directives and controls; the photographers worked for money and served as cheerleaders glorifying the Nazi regime. Their pictures showed the mass euphoria -both staged and genuine-of the early Nazi years in power, including annual party rallies, sports events, military parades, and innumerable portraits of the new leaders. Their prints also included stereotyped antisernitic pictures; for example, the expulsion of Jews from the Rheinbad swimming pool in Mannheim, signs forbiddingJews to visit the Imperial Palace in Vienna or sit on certain park benches, and mob demonstrations during the April 1933 boycott.12 All pride and ethical beliefs about the role of photographers as independent craftsmen succumbed to brute force and government censorship. Thus, an accurate and sympathetic documentation ofJewish life from 1933 to 1939 was provided only by Jewish photographers, who had been expelled from their press jobs and banned from all employment in the public sector. They were employed by the German-Jewish press or as freelance photographers and documented the growing isolation of the German Jewish community.13
After 1939, many German photographers and journalists were drafted into the military propaganda divisions of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, called Propaganda Kompanien (PK). Seven companies (each containing between 120 and 180 men) served under Major General Hasso von Wedel of the Army High Command. All photos were screened by military censors subservient to official directives of the Propaganda Ministry. Apart from the obligatory films documenting Nazi victories on the eastern and western fronts, PK photographers and filmmakers also photographed the annihilation of European Jewish life. Many of these photographs were unofficial and private and form the most interesting body of Nazi images produced during the first two years of the war.
The PK photographers served in front-line units; they received basic training and suffered the same casualty rate (30 percent) as front-line infantry units. They were in the first German units that entered Paris, photographed the Blitz from airplanes bombing Britain, and covered submarine crews during the Battle of the Atlantic. Their maximum strength was 12,000 men at the height of the German advance in Russia (winter 1941- 1942). The PK photographers also founded a photographic magazine called Signal, a Nazi militaristic imitation of Life, that was published in Paris in twenty different languages including English and French. Until late 1941, PK photographs were reprinted in the neutral Scandinavian and American press (including The New York Times), since German military censors were accommodating to neutral reporters, expediting their access to stories, photos, and lines of communication. (British censorship was dilatory and more restrictive during 1940-1941.)14 In addition to the photographers serving in PK units, other cameramen were assigned to SS units and to the Machinelles Berichtswesen (MB) of Organization Todt.15 Further research must be done about the number and nature of photographs produced by MB, their function and use.
Aside from obligatory combat coverage and portraits of German soldiers and equipment, the PK and MB photographers produced commissioned propaganda images as well as other photographs that were neither commissioned nor intended for publication. Their portrait of Jewish life under Nazi duress often shows no hint of antisemitic propaganda, and several photos express genuine compassion. It is important to remember that Nazi propaganda films from Warsaw, Hungary, and Theresienstadt often produced the opposite of what they intended: sympathy rather than repulsion. It is not known what the ratio of prints was between commissioned and private photos, nor in this initial study can we give statistics about the number of PK or MB photographers who produced private photos alongside their commissioned propaganda photography.
One PK Sonderffihrer, Albert Cusian, stayed in Warsaw during 1939 and 1940 to chronicle the creation of the Warsaw ghetto. His equipment "was a Leica camera with a 3.5 Elmar lens to capture the misery and suffering of the ghetto's inhabitants. I photographed everything in sight. The subject matter was so interesting. I took pictures in the morgue and at theJewish cemetery. Bodies of Jews who had died during the night were laid out on the pavements for collection in the morning. I'd wait until the collectors came and then took pictures of them."16 The Italian journalist Curzio Malaparte (a pseudonym for Kurt Suckert, author of Kaputt) was the eastern front correspondent for the Italian journal Corriere della Sera. His objective coverage of conditions in the Warsaw ghetto led to his recall.17 The photographers seem to have been sufficiently astute to outfox the military censors and to withhold their private and unofficial photos. There is a particularly strong contrast between the propagandist work of German PK photographer Arthur Grimm, who also worked as a special correspondent for Signal and whose images of Jewish life are well-composed but hackneyed and stereotyped in content, and the photos of MB-Todt photographer Ewald Gnilka.18 A more systematic study of their Warsaw photography will perhaps enhance our understanding of the function and uses of official and private Nazi photography. But even the private photographs had compliant subjects, vulnerable to the whims of the Nazi photographer. Official photography included police-commissioned photos of the deportation of Jews from' Nuremberg to Riga on November 29, 1941, when MuIler-Nickel of Nuremberg produced a film of the deportation.19
This initial phase of study did not include cameramen from neutral nations (United States, Sweden, and Switzerland), who accompanied the German Army into Poland in 1939 and France in 1940. Future research will have to identify these photographers and compare their work to images by German or Jewish photographers. A comparative analysis of similar images and subjects should better help define individual photographers' styles and national, differences. The differences may have been subtle, but it is assumed that freelance and commissioned images by Nazis and neutrals were not identical.20
Clandestine photography by identifiable as well as anonymous professionals is another important source for balancing the photographic record of the Holocaust. Jewish underground photographers, working illegally and against enormous odds, are a primary source of such photographs. Members of the resistance, partisan fighters, and Allied liberators also brought a different camera perspective to the same events and scenes. Clandestine work is often technically less perfect: it was obviously impossible to set up a tripod or to film close-ups. The penalties for being caught included arrest, torture, deportation, and death. Clandestine Jewish photographers provided remarkable insight into conditions of extreme duress in the ghettos, concentration camps, compulsory labor brigades, and resistance movements throughout occupied Europe. There is less of their work available and the surviving images are often slightly out of focus, since the frames were taken and developed in haste.
The most famous Jewish camera chronicler is Mendel Grossman (1912-1944), who created 10,000 images of buildings, streets, and people in the Lodz ghetto. He photographed whatever caught his eye. On the eve of World War II, Grossman was commissioned by the child health care organization TOZ to produce an album of Jewish children's portraits. These photos soon became a memorial for the children who perished after the German occupation of Lodz. Grossman did a large number of portraits of his own immediate family, all of whom perished in the ghetto. His official labor assignment was in the photographic laboratory of the Statistics Department of the Lodz ghetto. The laboratory was well equipped with film and printing paper, which he pilfered for his own use. Grossman walked through the ghetto with his camera hidden underneath his coat. He cut holes in the pocket linings to hold his camera and cut a peephole in the front of the coat to shoot his pictures.
Grossman hid the negatives in tin cans left over from a 1938 photographic series about the Lodz tour of the Tel Aviv Habimah theater company. He made several copies of each print and distributed as many copies as he could develop to different individuals, hoping that widespread distribution would help his pictures survive the deportations. He photographed daily life as well as roundups in the ghetto, and during the deportations of 1944 he hid all the negatives in tin cans that were buried in the hollowedout window sills of his apartment. He was deported to a compulsory labor camp in Germany in 1944, where he perished. His negatives survived World War II, but were destroyed during Israel's War of Independence. A second incomplete set of his prints from Lodz was subsequently donated to Kibbutz Lochamei ha-Getaot, where they are presently preserved and available for research.21
A second Jewish photographer who worked between 1933 and 1945 was Abraham Pisarek (born in Lodz in 1901, emigrated to Germany in 1919, died 1983). During his first six years in Germany, Pisarek worked as a skilled laborer (an apprentice mechanic and crane operator), and eventually became a salesman in Berlin. He went to Mandate Palestine for four years, returning to Berlin in the early 1930s. He studied and qualified as a press photographer, a career he was unable to practice legally after the Nazis blacklisted all Jews from employment (Berufsverbot).
After 1933, Pisarek photographed tolerated Jewish organizations like the judischer Kulturbund (and their theater, lectures, concerts, and exhibits for the segregated Jewish communities) and assorted sports events sponsored by clubs like Makabbi. When the Nazi regime prohibited a large public attendance at artist Max Liebermann's funeral in 1935, he took clandestine photographs of the burial, which were smuggled out of Germany with the help of visiting journalists from the New York German refugee paper Aujbau. Pisarek contributed portraits and news photos to the Jewish press, including the Central- Verein Zeitung and the Schild. Substantial parts of his print archive were stored in the offices of the Berlin Jewish community on Oranienburgerstrasse; they were destroyed when the synagogue at the same location was burned during the pogrom of November 9, 1938. After 1941, the GermanJewish press was closed down and Pisarek was assigned to compulsory labor in a Berlin laundry and dry- cleaning plant. Although all cameras and other optical goods were confiscated from German Jews on June 19, 1942, he continued to photograph Jewish life in Berlin. He had retained his camera, several additional lenses, and supplies, and slowly rebuilt his photo archive, despite the difficulties of finding materials, film, and paper during the war.
Pisarek had recorded the fate of East European Jewish immigrants in Berlin during the police raids accompanying the boycott of April 1933, and also photographed the expulsion of Polish Jews from the Scheunenviertel in October 1938. He photographed the pogrom of November 1938 as well as the demonstration of Christian wives in mixed marriages protesting the arrest of their Jewish husbands during the Fabrikaktion (factory roundups) of February 1943. The official photographic record of those Jews who survived in Berlin until 1942 is chronicled in Pisarek's private archive.22
Other clandestine photographers included an anonymous Polish photographer who, at the request of German troops, snapped sixteen photographs of the deportations of the Jews of Olkusz in July 1940. After the Germans took their set of prints, he secretly made a second set for himself; these photos survived the war.23 Anonymous Polish and Russian partisan photographers recorded the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Secret photography, believed to be by David Szmulewski (or Fajzenberg) shows women being herded to the gas chambers at Birkenau in 1944.24 Members of the Auschwitz resistance movement smuggled out three secret photos of women entering the gas chambers, and at least eight prisoners were assigned to SS Master-Sergeant Bernhard Walter, head of the Auschwitz Identification Service, whose job included making mug-shots of arriving non-Jewish prisoners, and his assistant, SS Sergeant Ernst Hofmann, who was assigned as the Aussenfotograf (outside photographer) for Birkenau.25 Undoubtedly, these and other prisoners had some access to cameras and photographic equipment and used it to record what they witnessed.
Nazi Cameramen and Official Photography
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.
Figure 1: SS man trims beard of Polish Jew. Photograph by Arthur Grimm, September-October 1939.
Unofficial Nazi Photography
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.
Figure 2: Boy selling armbands with Star of David, set against the rubble of Warsaw. Photo by Ewald Gnilka, Warsaw, October 1939.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; duplicate in Library of Congress.
Figure 3: Jewish women in the Lublin Ghetto. Unknown German Photographer, December 30, 1939.
Jewish and Resistance Photography
Joint Distribution Committee, New York.
Figure 4: Clandestine photograph of Le Vernet, a men's internment camp in Vichy France. Unknown photographer, winter 1940-41.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.
Figure 5: Roundup of Jewish citizens for deportation in Brandenburg/ Havel. Photo by Abraham Pisarek (Berlin), April 12, 1942.
Leo Baeck Institute, New York: Herbert Seeliger Collection.
Figure 6: The children's choir of the Heidereutergasse Synagogue in Berlin. Photo by Rotholz, Berlin, April 1942.
Many refugee photographers had sought asylum before 1939 in France, the Netherlands, and other countries. Erich Salomon was arrested after the German occupation of Holland and was transported from Westerbork to Theresienstadt and finally Auschwitz, where he perished.26 Wols (pseudonym for Wolfgang Schulze), a well-known German photographer, lived as a refugee in France during the 1930s. His semi-abstract and surrealistic fashion photography appeared before the war in Vogue, Harpers, and the French magazine Regards. Varian Fry's Emergency Rescue Committee was unable to secure his entry to the United States, and he was interned in 1940 at the camp of Neuvy sur Baranjon, where he took a number of realistic images of the overcrowded barracks.27 He also did a number of prints of Varian Fry and the Rescue Committee at work.
Many of the photographs from the French internment camps at Gurs and Le Vernet are unsigned. The probable photographers are the internees, neutral social workers who attempted to help the internees, and residents of nearby French towns. The women of Gurs cooking in the open and the men of Le Vernet behind barbed wire are important examples of images whose content is precisely known, although the name of the clandestine photographer went unrecorded. Photography of the French transit camps is similar in style and content to the images made by Toyo Miyatake in the Manzanar Relocation Camp for interned Japanese in California during 1942-1943.28 Both the Miyatake photos and the anonymous photos of Vichy camps document the continuity of life and preserve information about human endurance under duress. Much work remains to be done about the clandestine photography of the French and other western internment camps, and every effort must be made to identify the photographers of this "anonymous" work.29
Most of the photographs of the concentration camps were made by the perpetrators; the snapshots were part of the administrative records of the camp, of its architecture and routine, of the medical experiments, the prisoners, and the commandant's household. The few clandestine photographs that survived were produced in unknown situations and further research must rectify this gap in our knowledge.
A third group of professional and freelance photographers arrived on the continent after late 1944: the Allied liberators. As the fronts contracted simultaneously from both east and west, the extent of Nazi criminality was revealed to the whole world. Allied soldiers found the corpses, the tortured, and the dying in every concentration camp and satellite facility of liberated Europe. Influenced by the victor's passion for revenge and justice, American, British, Canadian, French, and Soviet cameramen recorded the terrible sights they found. The Canadians photographed Breendonck in Belgium, the Americans photographed Dachau, and the Russians similarly recorded the horrors of Maidanek and Auschwitz.30
Horrors not envisaged even in the art of the camps were translated into powerful images produced by the liberators. Teams from Life magazine were assigned to photograph various camps in April 1945: Dave Scherman at Auschwitz, Florea at Nordhausen, Vandivert at Gardelegen, George Rodger at Bergen-Belsen, and Margaret Bourke-White at Buchenwald.31 Bourke-White's classic images of former inmates at Buchenwald and the mountain of corpses with protruding toes and skulls are among the strongest images that record the immediate aftermath of liberation. From Buchenwald in May 1945 she wrote to the editors of Life: "The sights I have just seen are so unbelievable that I don't think I'll believe them myself until I've seen the photographs..."32 BourkeWhite's colleague George Rodger photographed a thin child, neatly clothed, strolling down a path alongside rows of corpses; this was Bergen-Belsen in May 1945. Although it is likely that the Rodger and Bourke-White photos are posed, they also reflect the stark and simplified moment of horror that confronted the Allies. These photos, as well as prints captured from the Germans, were used to prosecute the perpetrators at Nuremberg and subsequent military trials.33 Many of the photos were used in the Soviet film on the liberation of Auschwitz and in American footage from Bergen-Belsen and Dachau.
Still photography of the Holocaust has been carelessly used in recent historical literature. Scholars have seldom bothered to identify either the origin or purpose of the photograph; -whether the photographer was Nazi or Jewish; and whether the image was exploitative, reportorial, or memorial in nature. Photos of the camps sometimes repel the viewer because of their brutality, but the thoughtless and repetitive overuse of such images has reduced atrocities to an almost commonplace sight in the press and on television.34 These images were not made by social activists or concerned cameramen, but by the perpetrators-the killers themselves, who used their cameras as weapons of aggression, and by the liberators - who used their cameras as weapons of retribution and justice. Scholarly overuse of pictures showing heaps of skeletons and tortured emaciated bodies was exceedingly important in 1945 but must be reconsided after nearly forty years; the aim of illustration is not to shock but to inform, and the many social-historical photos that have been previously ignored require our attention. Scholars, publishers, and readers must learn that all images are not equally important, and photography of the Holocaust must not be measured by aesthetic criteria alone.
The sheer volume of Holocaust photography captured and confiscated by the Allies in 1945 and transferred subsequently to permanent custody in Great Britain, France, and the United States, has resulted in major research problems that persist even today. Although many stories of looted and lost paper and photos are probably apocryphal (e.g., the Russians shipping filing cabinets to the Soviet Union and emptying papers on the floor),35 others are true. Many photographs (both loose and in albums) were often appropriated as souvenirs by soldiers- and civilians. Many were burned by the retreating German Army and SS units and also by individuals seeking to hide their complicity in the mass murder of European Jews. Many photos were barely intact when the war ended in 1945. They had been burned during Allied bombing raids; were vulnerable to moisture, mold, and mildew in improvised storage facilities in caves and mine shafts; and were used as fuel and wastepaper during the last months of the war. Those documents and photographic files that were still intact, i.e., organized by provenance (the originating office), were dispersed and fractured into many splinters during the Allied occupation of Germany. Allied officers pulled some photos for immediate tactical information, intelligence, and immediate necessities of government. Others took photos out of context and added them to the files used as evidence in the prosecution of war criminals at Nuremberg and other localities across Europe. Filmmakers, historians, and journalists removed duplicates and negatives for historical study and for films to re-educate the civilian population of liberated Europe.36 Few soldiers, intelligence officers, or prosecutors returned the photos to their original files. Many were added to new records created by the US Signal Corps, the Office of War Information, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality. The vicissitudes of German captured records have led to indifferent custody at best, and to patterns of storage and control that were inimical to research at worst.
The photos were dispersed and often unlabeled. Even today they carry broad designations like "atrocities," "concentration camps," and "victims." However eloquent the image, photographs are not self- sufficient and unambiguous without supplementary information. Thus, the continued disorganization of the photographic record may account for the limited and repetitive use of certain images.
An additional problem results from duplicate images with different labels located in several archives. For example, one image of Jewish refugees at Zbanszyn in October 1938, located in duplicate copies in the YIVO Archive in New York and the Audiovisual Stills Division of the National Archives, is dated 1941 at Yad Vashem and the Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz. The print in the National Archives carries a non- reproducible blue ink stamp on the verso which reads: Wide World Photo for The New York Times Paris bureau. The image at YIVO is attributed to the New YorkJewish Daily Forward photographic collection. There is no attribution for the photographer on either the Yad Vashem or Berlin copies. Since the negative is located at the National Archives, the most likely explanation is that a freelance photographer sold the image to both The New York Times and the Jewish Daio Forward. The duplicates at Yad Vashem and Berlin (copied from Yad Vashem) are misdated and unattributed. The photographer's name is unknown, and he may have been either a Polish or an American freelance photographer.37 Another Yad Vashem photograph is labelled "Deportation of the Jews from Aldenburg, 1939." First, there is no such town (it is either Oldenburg or one of twelve different villages named Altenburg). Second, there were no deportations (except in Austria) in 1939; if the label is correct, the subject would warrant extensive written evidence, since it would mean a major new find in the history of World War II. It is obvious that duplicates should carry identical identifications, which is not the case at present.
Before a comprehensive photohistory of the Holocaust can be completed, the photographs must be cataloged and identified. The photographer's name, nationality, date, place, and subject are essential components of any label. Furthermore, the many amateur albums and mementos taken by individuals in 1945 should be deposited in responsible institutions, or they will be lost to history. After forty years, the photographic heritage of the Holocaust must be brought under better bibliographical control, or it will be lost to intelligent and literate scholars, journalists, and museums. Emotion is not equivalent to scholarship, and the irresponsible and inappropriate use of Holocaust photography must be supplanted by visually literate scholarship.
This paper was originally presented at the Annual Scholars' Conference of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, New York, March 1983.
1. The Stroop Report: The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no more!, ed. and trans. Sybil Milton (New York, 1979); The Auschwitz Album, ed. Serge Klarsfeld (New York, 1980); The Auschwitz Album.- A Book Based upon an Album Discovered by a Concentration Camp Survivor, Lili Meier, ed. Peter Hellmann (New York, 1981); and Gerhard Schoenberner, The Yellow Star, trans. Susan Sweet (London, 1969), 92-96. These three images have been used in virtually every documentary film on the Holocaust and also appear in many promotional advertisements for films and on museum posters.
2. The Concerned Photographer, 2, ed. Cornell Capa (New York, 1972); Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York, 1978); Gisele Freund, Photography and Society (Boston, 1980); Beaumont Newhall, The Histoly of Photography (New York, 1981); Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Hitler File: A Social History of Germany and the Nazis, 1918-45 (New York, 1979); and Ward Rutherford, Hitler's Propaganda Machine (New York, 1978). See also Tim N. Gidal, Modern Photojournalism: Origin and Evolution, 1910-1933 (New York, 1973); Roland GUnter, Fotografie als Waffe: Geschichte der sozialdokumentarischen Fotografie (Hamburg and Berlin, 1977); The American Image: Photographs from the National Archives, 1860-1960 (New York, 1979); AvantGarde Photography in Germany, 1919-1939 (San Francisco, 1980); Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt- Gimblett, Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939 (New York, 1977); and Harry James Cargas, A Christian Response to the Holocaust (Denver, 1981), 63-166.
3. Bildarchiv Preussischcr Kulturbesitz, Berlin: "Aufkleber filrj6dische Geschafte im Jahre 1933."
4. However, this often misfired, causing hostility to the regime. Ian Kershaw, "The Persecution of the Jews and German Popular Opinion in the Third Reich," Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 26 (1981): 264-74. Also Der gelbe Fleck: Die Ausrottung von 500, 000 Deutschen Juden (Paris: Editions du Carrefour, 1936), 208-209 (illustrations).
5. National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Official Netherlands Photo, Dec. 11, 1944, at Vught (RG 208: Office of War Information, file on concentration camps in the Netherlands); and U.S. Signal Corps Photo entitled "Nazi Slaughter House in France," dated Dec. 20, 1944, at Natzweiler (RG 208: file entitled Germany, Concentration CampsFrance, "Le Struthof").
6. Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal [Blue Series] (42 vols.; Nuremberg, 1947-49) 37: 391-431 (Nuremberg Document L 018: June 30, 1943, about the murder of Galician Jews with 20 pages of snapshots); and 26: 628-94 (Nuremberg Document PS 1061: May 16, 1943, report on the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto with an 18-page photographic supplement).
7. Adalbert Ruckerl, ed., Nationalsozzalistische Vernichtungslager im Spiegel deutscher Strafprozesse. Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno (Munich, 1977), 45.
8. Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10 [Green Series] (14 vols.; Washington 1950-52) 10: 1209 (Nuremberg Document NOKW 2523: Letter ofJuly 22, 1941, from the I Ith Army, signed by Chief of the General Staff Otto Woehler).
9. Martin Gilbert, Final Journey: The Fate of the Jews in Nazi Europe (New York, 1979), 116-19.
10. Jacob Robinson and Henry Sachs, compilers, The Holocaust: The Nuremberg Evidence.- Part One: Documents (Jerusalem: YIVO and Yad Vashem, 1976), 174 (entry 2755b: Nuremberg Document USSR 297). Also see Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret (New York, 1982), 20.
11. Sontag, On Photography, 41.
12. Typical photos appeared in the Fr~nkische Tageszeitung on August 11, 1938 (Streicher speaking in front of the central synagogue and the destruction of the Nuremberg synagogue) and June 25, 1938 (lead story with photoportraits entitled "Jews do not belong in German film"). A multipage photographic report of the boycott was published in Volkischer Beobachter (Berlin), April 2-3, 1933. For the expulsion of Jews from municipal swimming pools, see: Hakenkreuzbanner: Das Nationalsozialistische Karnp/blatt Nordwestbadens. Mannheim edition, July 20- 22, 1935. Additional photographs are found in Helmut Eschwege, cd., Kennzeichen J (Frankfurt, 1979), 37-38, 46, 49-50, and 52.
13. Eschwege, Kennzeichen J, 90. See also the sernifictional biographical account of the life of Jewish press photographer Abraham Pisarek in Berlin, who continued to work despite blacklisting: Inge Unikower, Suche nach dem geloblen Land: Biographic (Berlin, 1978), 214-75.
14. Philip Knightley, The First Casualty from the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker (New York and London, 1975), 217-67; Kurt Koszyk, Deutsche Presse 1914-1945 (Berlin, 1972), 425-35; Hasso von Wedel, Die Propagandatruppen der deutschen Wehrmacht (Neckargemiind, 1962); and Joseph Wulf, Presse und Funk im Dritten Reich: Eine Dokumentation (Gutersloh, 1964).
15. Knightley, The First Casualty, 218-41.
16. Ibid., 221.
17. Ibid., 255-57. See also Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt: Roman, trans. Hellmut Ludwig (Frankfurt, 1982).
18. Photographs made by Ewald Gnilka and Arthur Grimm in September and October 1939 are located in the Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, whose staff generously contributed images for my use and study. An especial debt of gratitude is owed to the director of this institution, Dr. Roland Klemig, and the archivist, Ms. Klein, for their assistance. Biographies of Gnilka and other press photographers are found in the Berlin Document Center (BDC). Little is known about Grimm, who still maintains a photo atelier in Berlin; the BDC had too many similar names for computer retrieval. Other PK photographers included Hensel and Vandrey in the Lublin Propaganda District; images are located in the Kolb Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York (LBI, NY).
19. Decision Landgericht Nuremberg-Furth, 10 May 1949 (KLs 230/48), in Justiz- und NS- Verbrechen. Sammlung deutscher Strafurteile wegen nationalsozialistischer Totungsverbrechen 4, 539.
20. Several API and UPI photos are reproduced in S.E. S.N.R.A., Le Dossier Juif.- Europe, 1918-1945 (Paris, 1979). See also Arvid Fredborg, Behind the Steel Wall: A Swedish journalist in Berlin, 1941-43 (New York, 1944).
21. Mendel Grossman, With a Camera in the Ghetto (Tel Aviv, 19 70); and information provided by Miriam Novitch, Kibbutz Lochamei ha-Getaot Museum in Israel.
22. Unikower, Suche nach dem gelobten Land, 223-69; and Eike Geisel, ed., Im Scheunenviertel: Bilder, Texte, Dokumente (Berlin, 1981), 136-50.
23. Gilbert, Final Journey, 178-80. These photos are located today in the Yad Vashcm Archive, Jerusalem.
24. Fotografia Polska: From Public and Private Collections in Poland 1839 to 1945 (New York: International Center for Photography Exhibition Catalog, 1979), 41-45.
25. Kazimierz Smolen, et al., Auschwitz: Geschichte und Wirklichkeit des Vernichtungslagers (Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1980), three photos in the unpaginated appendix. See Klarsfeld, Auschwitz Album.
26. Els Barents and W.H. Roobol, Dr. Erich Salomon, 1886-1944.- Aus dem Leben eines Fotografen (Munich, 1981), 28-34.
27. Laszlo Glozer, Wols Photograph (Munich, 1978).
28. Images of Le Vernet, Gurs, and other French camps are located in the archives of the LBI, NY; the American Jewish joint Distribution Committee, New York (courtesy of the Chief Archivist, Mrs. Rose Klepfisz); and F.N.D.I.R.P. Archives in Paris. See also Two Views of Manzanar: An Exhibition of Photographs by Ansel Adams and Toyo Mz~atake (Los Angeles, 1978).
29. The problems of photographic identification are discussed in Robert A. Weinstein and Larry Booth, Collect' ' on, Use, and Care of Historical Photo- graphs (Nashville, 1977), 34-43; and Walter Rundell, Jr., "Photographs as Historical Evidence: Early Texas Oil," The American Archivist 41, no. 4 (Oct. 1978): 373-98. See also jean Mohr and John Berger, Another Way of Telling (New York, 1982).
30. Mayfield S. Bray and William T. Murphy, compilers, Audiovisual Records in the National Archives of the United States relating to World War II (Washington, 1974); Kenneth J. Dillon, Scholars' Guide to Washington, D. C.: Central and East European Studies (Washington, D.C., 1980), 13515 1; and Bonnie G. Rowan, Scholars' Guide to Washington, D. C.: Film and Video Collections (Washington, D.C., 1980). See also the pamphlets and special inventories issued by the Public Archives of Canada, the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, the Dachau Museum, and the Auschwitz Museum as well as the new microfiche for Yad Vashem photographic collections.
31. Knightley, The First Casualty, 304-33; Life: The First Decade: 19361945 (Boston, 1979), 149-84; Sean Callahan, ed., The Photographs of Margaret Bourke- White (Boston, 1975); and Margaret Bourke-White, Deutschland, April 1945, [originally published in English in 1945 as Dear Fatherland Rest Quietly] (Munich, 1979).
32. Life: The First Decade, 171.
33. Ibid., 169, initially published in Life, May 7, 1945. Also the National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Audiovisual Stills Branch, RG 238: U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality; and RG 218: Combined Chiefs of Staff, War Crimes (000.5)
34. For a general discussion, see Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (New York, 1969), 217-251; Sontag, On Photography, 17-21; and Michael Lesy, Bearing Witness.- A Photographic Chronicle of American Life, 1860-1945 (New York, 1982), xvi-xvii and 156-67.
35. Louis P. Lochner, ed. and trans., The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943 (Garden City, New York, 1948), v. See also: Robert Wolfe, ed., Captured German Documents and Related Records (Athens, Ohio, 1974); John Mendelsohn, Trial by Document: The Use of Seized Records in the United States Proceedings at Nuernberg (University of Maryland, Ph.D. thesis, 1974); and Josef Henke, "Das Schicksal deutscher zeitgeschichtlicher Quellen in Kriegs- und Nachkriegszelt: Besclilagnahme, Ruckfuhrung, Verbleib," Vierte1jahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 30, no. 4 (Oct. 1982): 557-620.
36. Ibid., and Sybil Milton, "The Archival jigsaw Puzzle," paper presented at the Society of American Archivists, Chicago, 1979. See also the pamphlet produced by the National Audiovisual Center, Documentary Film Classics (n.p., n.d.).
37. National Archives, Washington, D.C., 306-NT-648D-11 identical with YIVO, Jewish Dady Forward Collection (reproduced in Dobroszycki and Kirshenblatt- Gimblett, Image Before My Eyes, 147); see also Yad Vashem and Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. See also Harry James Cargas, "Holocaust Photography," Centerpoint: Ajournal of Interdisciplinary Studies (Fall 1980, special issue on the Holocaust): 141-150, which asks intelligent questions but does not include optimum data on each photograph. Such data would include captions similar to those used for works of art, giving 1) accurate date and place of photo, if possible; 2) photographer's name or issuing agency; 3) subject of photo; 4) collection or source: photographer's private collection, archival depository, news agency file, publicity file of an organization, family photo album, court record, collectors' holdings, etc.; 5) format of photo and whether a duplicate file copy is located in more than one repository; 6) copyright information on the image; and 7) whether the photo has been published and where. Idiosyncratic photo cataloging has hampered the collection of this type of data.