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Backside of man walking on the street

Text by Roman Vishniac in The Vanished World: A limited-edition portfolio published by Witkin-Berley Ltd.

The ghetto was built by Casimir the Great. He considered the Jews an unclean people and wanted them separated from the rest of the city. The ghetto was built more than six hundred years ago and it still existed when I came to record the life of the Jews. Cracow was a large and important community and the ghetto was still intact from olden times. The Jews who lived in the ancient ghetto were so interested in life, in the life around them and in nature. It is touching to see the little peace dove, the white bird in the cage which was a symbol of the ghetto. But the later ghettos, the ghettos of Hitler, were factories of death. Of the 60,000 original Jews only a handful survived in the Cracow ghetto.

Image Courtesy of Mara Vishniac Kohn, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley.


19 1/2 x 15 1/4"




Pre-1933: Jewish Life in Europe before Holocaust

Entrance to the Ghetto, Cracow, 1938.



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