Exhibit at Old Dominion University Perry Library

by | May 25, 2012 | What’s Happening

Through June 28

As part of Holocaust remembrance activities, “The Face of the Ghetto” exhibition in Norfolk is a collaboration of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding, College of Arts and Letters; the Federal Republic of Germany; and the Old Dominion University Libraries.

During World War II, the German Nazis established the second largest ghetto for Jews in the occupied Polish city of Łód´z, renamed Litzmannstadt by the German occupants. In April 1940, more than 160,000 Jews from the Warthegau region were crowded into the Litzmannstadt Ghetto which consisted of an area of 4.14 square kilometers. Later, 20,000 Jews from the German Reich, Prague and Luxembourg were deported to Litzmannstadt. More than 5,000 Roma also were incarcerated there in 1941.

As a result of the abominable conditions, more than 43,000 people died in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. In 1942, tens of thousands of Jews with thousands of children among them were deported and killed in the Kulmhof extermination camp. The ghetto was dissolved in August 1944,and all but a handful of the remaining
inhabitants were killed in the Auschwitz extermination camp.

Professional Jewish photographers were instructed by the Jewish council of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto to photographthe daily life and work. They took pictures of children playing, working and eating and also produced touching portraits. The pictures were intended to show a functioning community and testify to the utility of Jewish workers for the German economy.

A collection of 12,000 contact prints by these Jewish photographers in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto is preserved in the Łód State Archive. For this exhibition, 50 prints were selected and enlarged. Quotations from survivor reports and from the chronicle of the ghetto accompany each photograph. A short overview of the ghetto’s history, a description of the photography as an historic source and information about the photographers provide an introduction into the exhibition.

The exhibition is composed and provided by the Topography of Terror Foundation in Berlin, Germany and is supported by the Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany. The exhibition was first shown in the United States at the United Nations in New York City, and is currently on tour.

A Web exhibit is available at http://www.lib.odu.edu/exhibits/faceghetto/index.htm