PHOTOGRAPHS FROM JEWISH POLAND
Mobile app from the Galicia Jewish Museum
Available free for iOS and Android from September 2020
Photographic representations of Polish Jews and Polish-Jewish matters lean heavily towards the black and white images of either pre-war Jewish community or the Holocaust. Most of us are aware of photographers such as Roman Vishniac or Menachem Kipnis or Alter Kacyzne, whose works depict what we call today “the world before the catastrophe,” the visual record of the more than three million strong Jewish community of Poland just before its almost total destruction.
Vishniac, Kipnis and Kacyzne’s photographs are often juxtaposed with those of the Holocaust: with the final images of the killing actually taking place and many others showing Jews being prosecuted and humiliated. Or with those showing the Holocaust infrastructure or its aftermath: the ghettos, the camps, the rubble and a handful of survivors.
Yet the imagery of the Jewish Poland spans well beyond that, from the 19th-century photographs of Ignacy Krieger and other ‘old masters’ to the most recent projects of contemporary photographers, both Polish and international. While in their work they sometimes do show or relate to the stories of suffering and destruction, just as often they testify to Jewish presence, the richness of Jewish culture, to continuity of Jewish tradition and to the rebirth of the Jewish community in contemporary Poland.
The Galicia Jewish Museum’s mobile application aims to present the wide and complete spectrum of photographic projects dedicated to Polish Jewry. With one image at a time, we would like to broaden the knowledge of the work of great photographers who directed their lenses at Jewish Poland, but first of all — knowledge of Jewish history in Poland.
Regularly published photographs will be accompanied by captions, placing them in their historical and social context. With time, this carefully curated collection will become a visually powerful statement of Polish-Jewish history, allowing for an insightful look into Jewish past and present in Poland beyond the stereotypes and misconceptions.
- The application is accompanied by a program of online lectures and webinars, which has started in August and will run through December.
- The application is being created in partnership with the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.
- The application and a program of accompanying events is a public project co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland through the competition Public Diplomacy 2020 – A New Dimension.
- The project reflects only the views of its creators and holds no bearing on the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.