The most intimate look inside the Jewish ghettos between 1939 and 1944 is evident in 500 photographs presented at the "Regards sur les ghettos" ("Perspectives on the ghettos") exhibition, which is held at the Memorial of the Shoah in Paris in an overwhelming testimony of the reality during WWII.
The images were taken by the propaganda service of the Third Reich, by German soldiers and by the Jews themselves exploring the lives of six Polish ghettos from very different points of view. The show was open on Wednesday and will run until September 2014.
One of the curators of the exhibition and head of cultural activities service at the Mémorial de la Shoah, Sophie Nagiscarde, told EFE that its goal is "to show and compare different perspectives of these ghettos through very different photo collections".
After presenting the visitor with the situation through drawings and a brief historical introduction, the images let the testimonies speak for themselves.
In one of the most aggressive propaganda materials, it is said that the "Jews spread terrible diseases" and only behave properly and work when they are well guarded...
"What essentially distinguishes photographs taken by Jews is that the people react more naturally," explained Nagiscarde, adding "so that gives the chance to see scenes of everyday life in the ghettos - very different from those taken by German soldiers. "
So, thanks to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis as Henryk Ross (1910-1991) or Mendel Grossman (1913-1945), visitors can peek into the playground of the Lodz ghetto. The truth is that taking pictures in the ghettos was completely prohibited, except for Nazi propaganda services. However, some Jewish photographers who were part of the "Judenrat" (Jewish councils) could at the same time, take private photos.
According Nagiscarde, some of the images were taken by German soldiers who managed to jump up the barrier, as well as those who visited the ghettos in an act of "morbid tourism."
Thus, it is estimated that there are around 15,000 snapshots of these neighborhoods-trap, of which the rarest are the scenes of deportation, usually immortalized by Jews, then, as indicated by the Commissioner, a Nazi "could never have been introduced into such an intimate moment and have gone unnoticed. "
"They are extraordinary scenes, especially since there are very few images that you see the sadness and despair of this separation," she said.
Of particular note are images taken by the photojournalist Hugo Jaeger, who was the personal photographer of Adolf Hitler from 1936 and photographed at the same time Kutno and Warsaw ghettos which are very close.