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GriefThe Biography of a Holocaust Photograph$
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David Shneer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190923815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190923815.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

The Making of a Soviet War Photographer and the German Occupation of Kerch

The Making of a Soviet War Photographer and the German Occupation of Kerch

(p.5) 1 The Making of a Soviet War Photographer and the German Occupation of Kerch

David Shneer

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the reader to Dmitri Baltermants, beginning with his birth to a Warsaw-based Jewish family and then describing his development as a Soviet photographer in the 1930s. A second-generation Soviet photographer and master of the horizontal, Baltermants was trained in socialist realist aesthetics, which documented and elevated the revolutionary experiment that was Stalin’s Soviet Union. In 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and Baltermants’s world turned upside down. The second half of the chapter focuses on the German invasion and its rapid advance through Soviet territory until its occupation of Kerch in November. The chapter walks the reader through the unfolding process of Kerch under German occupation. In a matter of two weeks, German authorities rounded up the entire population of Jews, drove them to an antitank trench in nearby Bagerovo, and then murdered them in a Holocaust by bullets. It concludes with Kerch’s liberation in late December.

Keywords:   socialist realism, Nazi genocide, Holocaust by bullets, photojournalism, Soviet photography

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