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Exhibition /

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

September 8, 2011 - October 22, 2011

Curated by David Shneer, Professor of History, University of Colorado and Lisa Tamiris Becker, Director, CU Art Museum
Based on David Shneer's critically acclaimed book, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes radically shifts our vision of World War II by showing it through the lens of Soviet photojournalists. The exhibition presents 58 photographs, printed at numerous scales over six decades, by the most important Soviet photojournalists including Evgenii Khaldei, Georgii Zelma, and Dmitrii Baltermants. These photographers took aesthetically arresting war images and were also the first to document the liberation of Nazi atrocity sites, three years before better-known photographers like Margaret Bourke White and Lee Miller saw their first concentration camps in Germany. The exhibition presents photographs that span the Nazi-Soviet war, from June 22, 1941 until V-Day on May 9, 1945, with an opening section that contextualizes the war-time images within the Constructivist and Socialist Realist traditions of Soviet photography in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Canonical images appear side by side with photographs that have never before exhibited, which the curators found in private collections of the photographers’ archives. We also show that a large number of Soviet photographers were Jewish and ask what this might have meant when confronting the war and Nazi atrocities through Soviet and Jewish eyes. 
The show also includes three vitrines of archival materials, including contact sheets, glass negatives, scrap books, diaries, Soviet publications, and the photographers’ personal book maquettes.
Dmitrii Baltermants, Russian (1912-1990)[+]
gelatin silver print, circa 1990
36 1/2x 43 5/8 inches

Loan from the Collection of Teresa and Paul Harbaugh; Image courtesy of Michael Mattis. (c) Estate of Dmitrii Baltermants.