Scenes from the Ghetto


November 13, 2013 – September 2014

Mendel Grossman photographing the deportation of the Jews from the Lodz Ghetto (detail). Photo credit: Pinchas Shaar. Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Israel/Photo Archive. All Rights Reserved.

World War II started with the invasion of Poland in September 1939. In the countries annexed to the East, the German army assembled the Jewish inhabitants in ghettos that rapidly became overpopulated and unsanitary.

The ghettos were liquidated in 1942-1943, marking the first step in the genocide of Central European Jews and the inhabitants transported to death camps.

Although the extermination process was put in place in great secrecy by the Nazi authorities, the first phase has, paradoxically, left considerable photographic documentation.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 photographs were taken in the ghettos during World War II. What is the meaning of these pictures? Propaganda? Testimony? Resistance? Denunciation for History?

The answers may be found in the context of the photos as well as in the personality of the photographers.

The exhibition presents an historical analysis of the photographs from collections preserved all over the world including pictures from many different ghettos (aside from the large ghettos like Warsaw, Lodz or Kovno, more than 400 other ghettos existed). These photographs relate the history of the confinement and slow death of several millions of Jews in the ghettos.



The images were selected with the help  of Roman Polanski.

Scientific Curator:

Daniel Blatman, historian and professor, Institute of Contemporary Jewish Studies at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem,
Daniel Uziel, Director of Yad Vashem Photo Archive,
Georges Bensoussan, Historian, Editorial Manager, Shoah Memorial,
Jean-Yves Potel, Correspondent for Poland, Shoah Memorial.

General Curator:
Sophie Nagiscarde, Marie-Edith Agostini, assisted by Anne Bernard, Shoah Memorial.

Entry Free of charge – Level 1