cover image In the Warsaw Ghetto

In the Warsaw Ghetto

Willy Georg. Aperture, $40 (111pp) ISBN 978-0-89381-526-4

This powerful photo essay of 50 duotones, of which 25 are double-page spreads, is a work of historical significance. In the summer of 1941, Georg, then a German soldier and photographer, was ordered to spend a day taking pictures inside the Warsaw ghetto, that vast concentration camp created by the Nazis into which 500,000 Jews were herded. The people depicted in these heartrending photos--busy, emaciated, worried, oppressed--live lives of sorts, unaware of the horrific fate that awaits them shortly. Scharf, a native of Poland and a founder of the London-based Jewish Quarterly , juxtaposes these joltingly immediate snapshots with diary excerpts from ghetto prisoners and extracts from the Polish underground press. These searing texts, spanning the years 1939 to 1943, tell of German air raids, beatings, murders, starvation, typhus and typhoid epidemics, mass deportations to death camps and the heroic Jewish resistance that culminated in the doomed uprising of April-May 1943. (Apr.)