Time - 100 Photographs - The Most Influential Images of All Time - USA (2019)

(Antfer) #1


The terrified young boy with his hands raised at the
center of this image was one of nearly half a million Jews
packed into the Warsaw ghetto, a neighborhood trans-
formed by the Nazis into a walled compound of grinding
starvation and death. Beginning in July 1942, the German
occupiers started shipping some 5,000 Warsaw inhabitants
a day to concentration camps. As news of exterminations
seeped back, the ghetto’s residents formed a resistance
group. “We saw ourselves as a Jewish underground whose
fate was a tragic one,” wrote its young leader Mordecai An-
ielewicz. “For our hour had come without any sign of hope
or rescue.” That hour arrived on April 19, 1943, when Nazi
troops came to take the rest of the Jews away. The sparsely
armed partisans fought back but were eventually subdued
by German tanks and flame throwers. When the revolt
ended on May  16, the 56,000 survivors faced summary

execution or deportation to concentration and slave-labor
camps. SS Major General Jürgen Stroop took such pride in
his work clearing out the ghetto that he created the Stroop
Report, a leather-bound victory album whose 75 pages in-
clude a laundry list of boastful spoils, reports of daily kill-
ings and dozens of heart- wrenching photos like that of the
boy raising his hands. This collection proved his undoing,
for besides giving a face to those who died, the pictures
reveal the power of photography as a documentary tool. At
the subsequent Nuremburg war-crimes trials, the volume
became key evidence against Stroop and resulted in his
hanging near the ghetto in 1951. The Holocaust produced
scores of searing images. But none had the evidentiary im-
pact of the boy’s surrender. The child, whose identity has
never been confirmed, has come to represent the face of the
6 million defenseless Jews killed by the Nazis.


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