From A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac as found on

A Vanished World Lives On

A vanished world lives on: In the late 1930s, the Nazis herded all the Polish Jews into Ghettos…

In these forced migrations, the people lost everything and life became a shadow of what was expected. The ghettos were patroled like a police state with armed military constantly checking for any deviations from what was allowed. Naturally, photography in such an environment, using the technology of the 1930s was next to impossible.

From A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac as found on

A man named Roman Vishniac took up the challenge. He systematically documented Jewish life in the Nazi-created ghettos located in Poland and elsewhere. His work preserved more than images. It isolated and presented the feeling of life in the ghetto. It’s the kind of photography I treasure because, before you can even think about the technical challenges that had to be overcome to create it, the image has punched you in the gut. In a heartbeat, you can’t take your eyes from what is in front of you, page after page of raw ghetto life, sustained by religious devotion and the camaraderie of the deeply persecuted.

There are many published versions of Vishniac’s images. The one I found is A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac, published by The Noonday Press edition, copyright 1997. The original copyright was 1947.

From A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac as found on
A Vanished World by Roman Vishniac as found on

If you have any chance to view Roman Vishniac’s unquenchable and historic images in any form, then you should do it. What is here can’t be taught–or even communicated. These are the images that everyone says are “worth 10,000 words.” Words don’t do them justice. Buy the book. A Vanished World is inexpensively available used on Amazon HERE.

 All text and images copyright 2014 by Don Merz and is owned and operated by 
Ovation Images, Pittsburgh’s Most-Trusted Family Photographer Since 2001

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