Print | Email Unpublished ghetto colour photos revealed

Newly released Warsaw photos

by: Ben Simons - Last updated: 2012-10-25

Hugo Jaegar Jewish ghetto photo

Hugo Jaegar Jewish ghetto photo

A series of unpublished colour photographs from Jewish ghettos in Warsaw and nearby town Kutno have been published on the Life magazine channel at time.com to mark the 72nd anniversary of the opening of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The photographs taken at the Nazi-run ghettos by one of Adolf Hitler's personal photographers Hugo Jaegar shows the Jewish subjects at ease with their images being taken.

"It is, of course, impossible to fully recreate exactly what Jaeger had in mind, but from the reactions of the people portrayed in these images in Warsaw and Kutno, there appears to be surprising little hostility between the photographer and his subjects," says Justyna Majewska, curator at the Holocaust Gallery in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw who commented on the photos at Time.com.

"Most of the people in these pictures, Poles and Jews, are smiling at the camera. They trust Jaeger, and are as curious about this man with a camera as he is about them. In this curiosity, there is no sense of hatred. The men, women and children on the other side of the lens and Jaeger look upon one another without the aggression and tension characteristic of the relationship between perpetrator and victim."

Majewska added: "All these many years later, Jaeger’s pictures from Warsaw and Kutno are still so hard to look at — and hard to turn away from. I presume that the beautiful young girl seen smiling directly, confidently, at the camera is Jewish: on the collar of her coat, we see what is evidently a folded, yellow Star of David. Neither she, nor Jaeger himself, could have truly, fully foreseen her fate: to die of typhus, or to starve to death, or to be forced into a gas chamber at Chelmno, only to emerge again in a haunting photograph long, long after she was dead."

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