What Jewish Life Looked Like Before the Holocaust

Jewish Life Roman Vishniac

The photographer himself, amid some of the people he was attempting to rescue from poverty. Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Exploring photographer Roman Vishniac’s archives of Jewish life before the Holocaust is to contemplate just how quickly politics and propaganda can transform—or eviscerate—an entire culture. In 1935, Vishniac began to photo-document impoverished Jewish communities in order to secure aid for them through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. There are about 9,000 photo negatives in Vishniac’s archive, but only 350 of them were printed in the span of his lifetime.

Prev Next 1 of 22
Jewish Life Desk

Sharing school books at heder: 1935-38. Source: The New Yorker

Jewish Life Unseparated Shots

Many unseparated shots from the archive. Source: Art Blart

Jewish Life Berlin Zoo

Inside the Berlin zoo: Early 1930s. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life NY Theater

Dancers Emily Frankel and Mark Ryder, New York: early 1950s. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Rail Station Berlin

Inside the Anhalter Bahnhof, a railway station in Berlin: early 1930s. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Washing Windows

Shop woman washing the windows of Mandtler and Neumann Speditionen in Vienna: 1930s. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Applicant

Emigration applicant meeting with an agent from the Aid Society of German Jews: 1937-38. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Beach

A day at the beach in Nice, France: 1939. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Movies

German family leaving the movie theater, Berlin: early 1930s. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Schoolchildren

A flurry of happy children’s faces, Mukacevo: 1935-1938. Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Jewish Life Kindling

Warsaw Boy in front of kindling in a basement dwelling: 1935–38. Source: Art News

Jewish Life Hitler Poster

Vishniac’s own daughter Mara in front of an election poster for Hindenburg and Hitler that says, “The Marshal and the Corporal: Fight with Us for Peace and Equal Rights,” Berlin: 1933. Source: Art News

Jewish Life Rubble

Boy standing atop a giant pile of rubble, Berlin: 1947. Source: Art News

Jewish Life Building School

Young Zionists building a school and foundry while learning construction techniques, The Netherlands: 1939. Source: Art News

Jewish Life Motor Boy

Boys gathered in admiration of a motorcycle, Brandenburg: early 1930s. Source: Art News

Jewish Life Stroller Street

Berlin street photography; notice the swastika flag on the storefront: 1935-36. Source: Art Blart

Jewish Life Elementary School

David Eckstein, seven years old, and his elementary school classmates in heder: 1935-38. Source: Art Blart

Jewish Life Soup Kitchen

A worker in a Jewish soup kitchen: mid to late 1930s. Source: Art Blart

Jewish Life Berlin Dog Walk

A Berlin street scene: 1926. Source: Art Blart

Jewish Life Stoop

Enjoying some time outdoors: date unknown. Source: Wordpress

Jewish Life Bath Time

Bath time for siblings at home: date unknown. Source: Wordpress

Continue Reading

What Love Looked Like During The Vietnam War

Vietnam War Love Letter

When you’re plucked from home and dropped into a hostile environment for reasons hard to truly understand, not even the smell of paper is taken for granted. Seen here is PFC Richie, sniffing a perfumed letter sent to him in 1966 from his girlfriend in Jay, Oklahoma.

Continue Reading

Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds