The introduction describes how the author first learned about Grief from a local photography collector, whom Shneer learned played a central role in exposing the Soviet photographer Dmitri Baltermants and the photograph to the global art market. The collector assumed that, given its aesthetics, the photograph was a postbattle image taken at Kerch. Only through painstaking research did Shneer learn that Grief was one of the first photographs documenting the liberation of a Nazi atrocity site, even though there are likely no Jews in the photograph, either dead or alive. It is found in Holocaust photo archives and major art museums’ permanent collections and has been exhibited around the world since the 1960s. This book is a biography of Grief and its maker and asks how a photograph documenting Nazi atrocities can be found in modern art museums and Holocaust institutions, whose missions seem diametrically opposed.
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