When the Nazis began clearing out a Jewish ghetto in a German-occupied city in Poland, one Jewish photographer, fearing for his life, buried a box containing thousands of photographic negatives. Decades later, they offer a haunting and intimate glimpse into a tragic episode in Europe’s history.
The photographer’s name was Henryk Ross. Before the war, he had worked as a journalist and sports photographer. However, the German invasion of Poland brought that career to an early end, and instead, throughout the Nazi occupation of his home city of Lodz, Ross found employment in the Jewish Council’s Department of Statistics.
Jewish Councils, however, were not traditional Jewish organizations. They were, in fact, power structures established by the Germans to manage the internal affairs of the Jewish ghettos. Fortunately, Ross was able to engage in quiet acts of disobedience – and the photos that he took would certainly have cost him his life had the Germans discovered them.