Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Name to a Face

"Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs" is the caption used for this photograph in Stroop's report

Following on from the last post, i came across a rather good New York Times article last week, detailing work conducted into the identity of a boy photographed during the clearance of the Warsaw Ghetto. The photograph is one that many of us will be very familiar with, especially if you have an interest in modern history.

Dan Porat, an associate professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has tried to discover the identity of the scared looking small boy. It has to be said that he failed to come up with any solution to the problem and i imagine that the boy's name will never be known. The sad likelihood is that he died along with many others in one of the Nazi death camps. The look on the little girl's face on the far left of the photo is also particularly heartbreaking.

The photo itself was probably taken by a deeply unpleasant SS officer called Franz Konrad, nicknamed the 'King of the Warsaw Ghetto' and whose commanding officer was the even more despicable and notorious  Jurgen Stroop. Stroop put together a 75-page report for Heinrich Himmler following the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, illustrated with over fifty images - many taken by Konrad and featuring sickeningly inaccurate and misleading captions.

Three copies of the report were made and all three survived the war. In the end, the extensive report - complete with photographs - came back to haunt both Stroop and Konrad, acting as evidence against them at their war crime trials after the war. Both were hanged in 1952.

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