Posts Tagged ‘poland’
Mikołaj Gliński’s Culture.pl post “Search for Missing Woman from 1946 Photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto” looks at the search to identify a young girl photographed in 1946 by Reginald Kenny, looking at the remains of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Until recently this was not a very well-known picture in Poland. But over the last month thanks to the efforts of a couple people and a Facebook profile, the image has gone viral and is now on the path to becoming one of the most iconic images of destroyed Warsaw. Still, while the Internet was able to establish a lot of important facts, including the exact location of the place, the main goal of the whole effort has not yet been achieved, which is finding the girl in the picture and getting to know her story.
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The black-and-white image shows a girl (approximately 10 years old) looking at the sea of ruins of the Warsaw ghetto. She is standing on a roof of a building which in the course of a private investigation by Marek Kossakowski (follow here) has been identified as a building at 5/7 Stawki Street – which is one of the very few buildings in the area to have survived the war. The building still stands today at four stories tall, which is not so obvious when you look at the picture – it seems that the flattened background of razed rubble somehow distorts the perspective and proportions.
In the left top corner one can discern the silouette of the Saint Augustine’s Church, well known from other pictures of the destroyed ghetto. The T-shaped cross-road on the left has been identified as the intersection of Muranowska and Zamenhofa, the streets that had formed the heart of the Warsaw’s Jewish district before WW2.
The girl on the roof is smartly dressed, the only thing which is out of sync are the shoes – too big and probably belonging to a man, they make one wonder how she made it all the way up here. The girl is caught in the act of touching her hair (the wind must have blown furiously at this altitude). [. . .]
This is what the image tells us, and it is not much. But we know also that the iconic photograph was taken on April 3, 1946 by Reginald Kenny who was a photographer accompanying former US president Herbert Hoover on the so-called Food Mission in Europe. In 1946 and 1947 Hoover visited around 40 countries struck by the war in an effort to estimate losses and provide the best relief for war victims. One of the places he visited was Warsaw.
I hope this goes viral; I hope that the girl in the photograph, now a woman in her 80s if she is still alive, is identified.