Photographs of the Lodz Ghetto (Poland 1940-1945)
by Henryk Ross,
at the Art Gallery of Ontario until 14 June 2015
Ross was a Polish Jewish photographer and one of the official Lodz ghetto photographers under the Nazi regime.
In the autumn of 1944 as the Lodz ghetto was being shut down, Ross buried his 6000 negatives in jars. The Red Army liberated Lodz in January of 1945 after which Ross unearthed his negatives. Water damaged about half of them. Of the surviving 3000 negatives, about 200 form the ‘Memory Unearthed’ exhibit.
Some of the photos are ordinary pictures – portraits of people, children playing. Other photos look ordinary until you learn the context, what is really happening in the picture. Many photos document suffering and despair. They elicit a lot of uncomfortable emotions but as an historical record the collection is excellent as well as much needed.